Automated Guided Vehicles for Composite Tooling Cart Transport

Fori recently supplied (2) automated Tugger AGVs for Aerospace composite tooling cart transport.

The Fori Tugger AGVs were supplied to transport a variety of composite tooling parts with total transfer weight up to 30,000 lbs. The Tugger AGV system included auto docking to the product carts. The purpose of the auto docking is to eliminate the need for operator intervention to couple to the carts and transfer them through the assembly plant.

The Fori Tugger AGV is utilized in two configurations, first as a Tugger pulling tooling carts in a single direction. The Tugger AGV is also used as a Dock N’ Lock. In the Dock N’ Lock configuration, the AGV automatically connects to the tooling cart and pulls it against the bumpers (shown in bottom picture). The attachment allows the tooling cart to rotate with the Tugger AGV and back it into work stations as required by the process.

The Tugger AGVs were commissioned to ensure safe and reliable product transfer. Previously this transfer was completed with fork lifts or manned tow vehicles. The AGVs eliminated non-value added material handling and provided a hands off system for transporting product through the assembly process.

 

AGV System for Robotic Weld Line

Fori Automation recently supplied a number of powered drive wheel systems for an automotive Tier 1 supplier. The drive wheels were integrated into a customer supplied tooling cart providing automated movement of product through the automotive assembly process.

Automotive Assembly with Powered Drive Wheel System on Assembly Cart

The Fori powered drive wheel systems include modular drive wheel units that are mounted to new or existing assembly carts. Once mounted the drive wheels automate the transfer of materials through the manufacturing facility. The drive wheel systems provide the same capability as an off the shelf Automated Guided Carts (AGCs). The powered drive wheel systems can be manually moved by the operator or can be supplied with an integrated vehicle management system (VMS) or traffic control to automatically control movement from station to station.

The key benefits of a powered drive wheel system include:

  • Reduced reliance on fork lifts or manned Tuggers.
  • Improve ergonomics, reduction in injuries in relation to pushing or pulling assembly or kit carts.
  • Repeatable, reliable delivery of goods and consistent line pulse for assembly operations.
  • Ability to integrate into manufacturing execution system (MES) for data analysis and production streamlining.
  • Safe transfer of goods through the use of onboard Safety PLC and associated safety devices.
  • Accurate positioning of carts and goods, standard station positioning is +/- 10 mm when utilizing a Fori provided vehicle management system (VMS).

Drive wheel systems include their own self-contained power supply, control panel, collision avoidance devices, guidance hardware and tethered (or wireless) pendant for manual control. Power supplies include sealed lead acid batteries and lithium ion product offerings. The controls architecture is safety PLC based and available in Siemens or Rockwell. Guidance or navigation options available include optical, magnetic or natural feature utilizing the onboard safety scanners.

Powered Drive Wheel System with Safety Scanner, Alarm & Lights, E-Stops & HMI

Total carrying capacity of the powered drive wheel systems is accommodated by a variety of standard drive wheel sizes. Capacities can be increased by up-sizing the drive wheel and motor combination or adding more of the smaller drive wheel units. Drive wheel systems can also be configured to allow for different levels of maneuverability. The maneuverability ranges from uni-directional, loop based systems, up to omni-directional systems for complex material handling or assembly systems with the integration of two or more drive wheels.

The drive wheel systems are structured for current or future automation with the ability to retrofit the assembly cart later in the production cycle. The assembly cart can be designed to accommodate mounting of the drive wheels and required equipment at a later date. For existing carts, our design team will work with the production team to define the required changes for addition of the powered drive wheel system. The ability to add automation as production increases, decreases the initial capital expenditures, allowing production rates to increase before adding the automation required for automated or manual transport through the assembly process.

Powered Drive Wheel System with Single Powered Drive Wheel & Support Casters for Assembly Cart & Product Transport through Automotive Assembly Process

Overall the powered drive wheel system provides a flexible, safe and reliable material handling and assembly solution for the a wide range of industries and processes.

To learn more about Fori’s available products please visit our website or contact us at sales@foriauto.com.

Fori Automation de Mexico Tour & Company Overview

Fori Automation de Mexico facility was completed in 2019 and offers more than 90,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space. 

The new facility was built to support the continued growth of Fori Automation de Mexico. Fori Mexico has been an intricate part of the continued growth of Fori Automation globally. The new facility will enable Fori Mexico to take on larger projects and support our domestic and global customer base. Below is an interactive tour and company overview for Fori Automation de Mexico. 

Fori Mexico currently has over 50 employees and a plan is in place to hire over 20 more within the next three years. Pictures of the new facility and start of the project can be found below. The new facility is located in Coahuila, Mexico.

Fori Mexico
Fori Automation de Mexico Headquarters
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Robotic Welding System for Automotive Frame Assembly

Fori Automation is a global designer and builder of Material Handling, Assembly, Testing and Welding Systems. For more information on Fori Automation’s products and locations, please visit our website.

Automotive End of Line: Wheel Alignment, Headlamp Aiming, Roll & Brake Testing

Fori China designed, built and integrated an end of line testing system for an automotive manufacturer.

Features:

  • Jobs Per Hour: 65 jobs
  • Testing Completed: wheel alignment, headlamp aiming, roll and brake
  • Results: Increased production rate, reduced labor, improved quality

The end of line testing system included: non-contact wheel alignment, automatic headlamp aiming and roll and brake testing.

The wheel alignment machine is designed for automatic measuring and manual adjustment of the vehicle parameters.  The system was designed to measure toe and camber. The system is designed for a wide range of wheel bases and wheel tread width and tire sizes.

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An integrated headlamp aimer measures the vehicle headlight intensity and position automatically and guide the operator to adjust the lamp position semi-automated. The “Fori Vision” aiming unit utilizes a camera based system to measure the intensity and position of the headlight.

Roll and brake testing is also completed on the end of line system, which includes testing for acceleration, cruise control, transmission, rear gear, dynamic braking and engine.

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For more information about Fori Automation’s end of line testing solutions, please visit our website.

Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) for Automotive Chassis Decking Line

Fori Korea provided one precision, battery powered automotive chassis marriage AGV for an electric car manufacturer.

 

Features:

  • Guidance Technology: Magnetic tape
  • Capacity: 4,000 lbs. / 1,818 kg.
  • Safety: Safety scanners and bumpers, system interlocks
  • Controls: Allen Bradley Open Architecture
  • Keys to Success: Custom designed chassis, accurate and repeatable
  • Results: Increased flexibility, decreased infrastructure

The battery powered chassis marriage AGV with dual independent lifters is capable of lifting and transporting up to  4,000 pounds (1,818 kilograms) in order to install the front and rear suspension and drivetrain modules.

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This AGV was developed to support the end users lean, automated, manufacturing methodology. Not only will the AGV enable the end user to reduce their hardware investment, there will be significant flexibility in the assembly process. The guidance system and reduced plant infrastructure allows the AGV to easily interact with other systems and processes. The AGV is also outfitted with multiple safety measures that ensure collision avoidance.

The chassis marriage AGV is responsible for accurate and repeatable location of a part within the station for a reliable chassis marriage process. The AGV will provide increased flexibility, safety, and decreased product damage, thus increasing profitability within the manufacturing process for the end user.

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For more information about Fori Automation’s AGVs and chassis marriage systems, please visit our website.

Assembly Systems: Cockpit Assembly Line

Fori China recently designed, built and integrated a cockpit assembly line in Shanghai.

Features:

  • Jobs Per Hour: 60 jobs
  • Results: Increased production rate, reduced labor, decreased injury concerns

The Fori China project aimed to improve the productivity and ease of assembly for a cockpit. The manipulators were attached to a steel structure that is used for assisting the operator while installing the cockpit assembly into the vehicle. After the cockpit is attached to the manipulator, it is conveyed to the install location, the goal is to reduce potential of damage to the workpiece. Once the workpiece is located within the vehicle, the manipulator holds the panel until tightening of the bolts is completed.

The manipulator has improved production efficiency, reduced product damage, and most importantly improve safety for the operators. For more information about Fori’s aerospace tooling, please visit our website.

Powered Drive Wheel Systems for Automotive Assembly Systems

Fori Automation recently supplied a number of powered drive wheel systems for an automotive Tier 1 supplier. The drive wheels were integrated into a customer supplied tooling cart providing automated movement of product through the automotive assembly process.

Automotive Assembly with Powered Drive Wheel System on Assembly Cart

The Fori powered drive wheel systems include modular drive wheel units that are mounted to new or existing assembly carts. Once mounted the drive wheels automate the transfer of materials through the manufacturing facility. The drive wheel systems provide the same capability as an off the shelf Automated Guided Carts (AGCs). The powered drive wheel systems can be manually moved by the operator or can be supplied with an integrated vehicle management system (VMS) or traffic control to automatically control movement from station to station.

The key benefits of a powered drive wheel system include:

  • Reduced reliance on fork lifts or manned Tuggers.
  • Improve ergonomics, reduction in injuries in relation to pushing or pulling assembly or kit carts.
  • Repeatable, reliable delivery of goods and consistent line pulse for assembly operations.
  • Ability to integrate into manufacturing execution system (MES) for data analysis and production streamlining.
  • Safe transfer of goods through the use of onboard Safety PLC and associated safety devices.
  • Accurate positioning of carts and goods, standard station positioning is +/- 10 mm when utilizing a Fori provided vehicle management system (VMS).

Drive wheel systems include their own self-contained power supply, control panel, collision avoidance devices, guidance hardware and tethered (or wireless) pendant for manual control. Power supplies include sealed lead acid batteries and lithium ion product offerings. The controls architecture is safety PLC based and available in Siemens or Rockwell. Guidance or navigation options available include optical, magnetic or natural feature utilizing the onboard safety scanners.

Powered Drive Wheel System with Safety Scanner, Alarm & Lights, E-Stops & HMI

Total carrying capacity of the powered drive wheel systems is accommodated by a variety of standard drive wheel sizes. Capacities can be increased by up-sizing the drive wheel and motor combination or adding more of the smaller drive wheel units. Drive wheel systems can also be configured to allow for different levels of maneuverability. The maneuverability ranges from uni-directional, loop based systems, up to omni-directional systems for complex material handling or assembly systems with the integration of two or more drive wheels.

The drive wheel systems are structured for current or future automation with the ability to retrofit the assembly cart later in the production cycle. The assembly cart can be designed to accommodate mounting of the drive wheels and required equipment at a later date. For existing carts, our design team will work with the production team to define the required changes for addition of the powered drive wheel system. The ability to add automation as production increases, decreases the initial capital expenditures, allowing production rates to increase before adding the automation required for automated or manual transport through the assembly process.

Powered Drive Wheel System with Single Powered Drive Wheel & Support Casters for Assembly Cart & Product Transport through Automotive Assembly Process

Overall the powered drive wheel system provides a flexible, safe and reliable material handling and assembly solution for the a wide range of industries and processes.

To learn more about Fori’s available products please visit our website or contact us at sales@foriauto.com.

Automotive Assembly–Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for Body Shop

Fori Germany recently supplied a custom designed AGV for an automotive manufacturer at their body shop in Munich.

Features:

  • Guidance Technology: Optical
  • Capacity: 1,100 lbs./500 kg.
  • Safety: Safety scanners, e-stops
  • Controls: Siemens safety PLC, vehicle management system (VMS)
  • Keys to Success: Custom designed chassis, lithium ion battery, optical guidance
  • Results: Reduced infrastructure, increased flexibility

Fori Germany supplied 16 AGVs for a body shop project that were custom designed around the customer’s process. The total capacity required for each AGV was 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms). The AGV was responsible for carrying a car chassis between various assembly stations.

Each vehicle consisted of two fixed drive wheels, an integrated scissor lift, and a 24 volt lithium ion battery to power the vehicle. The system was based on an open controls architecture, utilizing a Siemens PLC for the vehicle control.  In addition, each vehicle is equipped with a camera based guidance system that follows colored tape or paint. The optical guidance system provides a flexible, reliable and cost effective solution for guiding the vehicles throughout the assembly plant.

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The vehicle included a custom scissor lift to accommodate the vertical lift stroke and capacity required for the process. Each vehicle is capable of lifting 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms), and the scissor lift is capable of 21 inches of total stroke with a collapsed height of 11 inches. The custom 24 volt 67 ampere hour lithium ion battery was designed to fit within the available footprint on the vehicle. The system allowed for quick charging at the designated opportunity charge stations. Utilization of a lithium ion battery reduced the required charging infrastructure.

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For more information about Fori Automation’s AGVs, please visit our website.

Automotive Chassis Marriage System

Fori China designed, built and integrated a chassis marriage system for a automotive manufacturer located in Slovenia.

Features:

  • Jobs Per Hour: 45 jobs
  • Results: Increased production rate, reduced labor, decreased injury concerns

The marriage line is a sub-set of the trim and chassis final assembly system that delivers the completed front and rear modules to the marriage line after being assembled. The overall project is based on the green field sit to provide the delivery conveyance of the completed sub-assembly from the tunnels to the marriage line automatically where the complete chassis assembly will be automatically married and secured to the car chassis.

The body carrier and frame are powered into the stations via asynchronous conveyors. The spindles index and begin securing the front module, differential cradle, and rear module. All 14 fasteners must be torqued at the same time. There will be three wheel base variations that have a common front module and center cradle positions.

An inspection station was supplied with the system. The station will provide positive verification that the details match the corresponding configuration of the vehicle sequencing through the assembly process. The vision inspection is completed at a stop station.

The marriage station includes an electro-mechanical hook style body clamping device for models that require holding the body during the marriage process. An external actuator in the station is used to clamp the body to the pallet. Once married the overhead carrier drive is disengaged allowing the pallet conveyor to the move pallet/carrier assembly down the line. Future non-related products may be introduced by either pallet redesign or through additional pallets and a future pallet storage system.

For more information about Fori Automation’s body and chassis marriage systems, please visit our website.

Automated Suspension Assembly System for Front Vertical

The Fori module assembly system sequences and processes multiple product variants utilizing Fori’s Rail Guided Cart (RGC) assembly solution.

Features:

  • Assembly Cycle Time: 32 jobs per hour
  • Keys to Success: Automatic camber set, automated front coil over shock assembly, automatic lateral runout, flexible product transport from dunnage to line
  • Results: System capable of sequencing multiple variants, increased quality

Fori’s integration of manufacturing execution systems with the RGC system allows the value added assembler the means to create multiple variants of brake systems. The sequenced brake systems are then assembled as requested by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and ready for installation into the vehicle.

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The single loop style conveyor system consists of 13 RGCs to transport front brake corner and strut components (front vertical assembly) from incoming material dunnage through the various assembly processes including:

  • Automatic hub bearing and rotor lateral runout test and assembly
  • Knuckle and splash shield assembly
  • Caliper installation and assembly
  • Vision system inspection and verification of caliper selection and installation
  • Vision verification of brake pad presence
  • Automatic front coil over shock assembly
  • Automatic setting of camber angle and marriage of front coil over shock to brake corner

Utilizing experienced resources, Fori developed a viable process, engineered the system, manufactured the equipment and integrated the assembly line at the end user. The module assembly system has resulted in positive results for the customer and OEM.

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For more information about Fori’s modular assembly systems, please visit our website.