Automotive Assembly–Caster Camber Pre-Set Fixture

Fori supplied a cost effective solution for setting the front suspension caster and camber alignment prior to the end of line equipment.  

 

Features:

  • Safety: Safety scanners, system interlocks
  • Controls: Allen Bradley
  • Keys to Success: Highly accurate and repeatable, fully automatic with manual override functionality.
  • Results: Increased production rate, reduced personnel injuries

The Caster Camber fixtures (primary and back up) were built to fit within the existing assembly plant. The system proved to be a challenge in the already congested twin strand pedestal conveyor. The fixture itself hangs from an overhead rail system and is capable of locating and tracking with the vehicle frame as it passes beneath.

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The fixture lowers itself onto the vehicle frame, and then pins and clamps to the frame which establishes the control datum points to locate to. The machine’s two pivot arms swing in and clamp the upper and lower control arm ball joints. DC Nutrunners loosen the lower control arm fasteners. Servo motors position the X and Y location of the lower control arm. DC nutrunners secure the lower control arm into the correct location. The fixture then un-clamps and lifts off of the frame. At that point the fixture drives itself back to it’s home position ready to accept the next unit.

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The system consists of a fully integrated Safety PLC. The PLC has the ability to track and store faults, monitor and record positional and setting information as well as monitor all safety devices.

For more information about Fori Automation’s automotive assembly capabilities, please visit our website.

 

Automotive Welding System–Front Sub Frame MIG Welding/Projection Welding Systems

Fori Mexico provided a robotic MIG and projection welding system for a sub frame line for an automotive manufacturer.

Features:

  • Assembly Cycle Time: 54 seconds
  • Keys to Success: Integrated robots and custom designed turn tables, custom precision welding
  • Results: Decreased cycle time, increased quality

 

The front sub-frame line has a total capacity of 292,000 units with a cycle time of 54 seconds. The assembly consists of MIG welding, projection welding and clinch studs.  Fori processed this with dial tables mounted to the customer’s base system for ease of installation.

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The assembly line consists of 22 MIG welding robots and ten material handling robots.  MIG welding is the main process completed, but the line also has Vitronic cameras to scan welds for quality control, post welding pierce stations, and machining centers for key attachment points and a map vision system to verify dimensional accuracy.

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Fori USA was responsible for project management and engineering for the program.  Fori Mexico was responsible for building the line, debug and run off on their floor. The robotic welding system proved to be a successful collaboration between Fori USA and Fori Mexico. The ability to support the setup, buyoff and installation near the customer plant was of great value to the end user.

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

 

End of Line Testing–Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Fori Korea supplied an Advanced Driving Assistance System (ADAS) to accommodate several vehicle platforms and test a variety of safety features.

Features:

  • Safety Testing: Lane departure warning, automatic headlights, over speed prevention, traffic signal recognition, distance warning
  • Results: Decreased infrastructure, increased production rate, accommodation of future vehicle models

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ADAS test benches certify the operation of the vehicle cameras related to Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Automatic Head Lights (AHL), Over Speed Prevention (OSP), Traffic Signal Recognition (TSR) and Distance Warning (DW).

The ADAS system also validates functionality of the vehicles radar system which detects the moving elements in front of the vehicle from a significant speed and the operation of the vehicle. Examples include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Advanced Emergency Braking System (AEBS) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW).

Another test completed by the ADAS is the AVM (Around View Monitor). This process is completed with four cameras (front, rear, two for side mirrors) and then displays the image captured by the cameras to the operator in their cones of vision (e.g., help for the blind spots, help for the car parking).

The ADAS system has reduced the infrastructure required for the various sensor testing that is completed on production vehicles. The system allows multiple tests to be completed in one station.

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

 

Chassis Sub Assembly System–Assembly Line & Engine Decking System

Fori India designed, built, and integrated a chassis marriage Rail Guided Vehicle (RGV) system for front and rear assemblies.

Features:

  • Electro-Hydraulic Scissor Lifts
  • Friction drive wheel
  • Wheel base adjustment
  • Results: Increased production rate

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The Rail Guided Vehicle system supplied was comprised of a Fori standard friction wheel drive for the required forward and reverse movement. The vehicle included two separate electro-hydraulic scissor lifts that are used for decking the front module and rear axle assembly. The system also included wheel base adjustment that was required to accommodate multiple models for the rear axle assembly.

The RGV was designed to be user friendly and simple to use. An example of this methodology is the within the control System which was designed to be very simple for the end user, utilizing a relay based logic.

For more information about rail guided vehicles, please visit our website.

 

Automotive Assembly–Workpiece Carriers for Front End Assembly

Fori Germany supplied a custom designed work piece carrier for an automotive manufacturer for their front end assembly project.

Features:

  • Keys to Success: Custom designed work piece carrier, trunnion for part access
  • Results: Reduced infrastructure, increased flexibility
  • Solutions: Module assembly system, work piece carrier with integrated trunnion.

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Fori Germany supplied 21 work piece carriers for a front end assembly line. The work piece carriers were integrated with an existing automated guided vehicle (AGV) system, and are mounted directly to the AGVs.

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The purpose of the work piece carriers is to provide a repeatable solution for locating the parts to the pallet for assembly. The work piece carrier also provides a process to the operator for adjusting the part location and orientation. Adjustment is completed through a powered trunnion.

The carrier trunnion has an integrated motor in order to tilt (the system has four automatic tilt angles) the fixture both automatically and manually. The carrier utilizes the power available on the AGV and communicates with the it to provide confirmation of the correct position. Upon completion of the front end module, the carrier returns to the home position and the module is unloaded via a lift assist.

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The system supplied provided a simple technique for locating the front end module for the operator. The design considerations were based on a high level of reliability and minimal maintenance.

To learn more about Fori Automation’s AGVs and assembly capabilities, please visit our website.

Automotive End of Line–Wheel Alignment, Headlamp Aiming, Roll and Brake Testing

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

Features:

  • Jobs Per Hour: 30 jobs per hour
  • Testing Completed: Wheel alignment, headlamp aiming, roll and brake
  • Results: Increased production rate, reduced labor, improved quality

The end of line testing system was integrated for a two vehicle inspection line. Testing completed included: non-contact wheel alignment, automatic headlamp aiming, roll and brake testing, and various other sensors.

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 for a wide range of wheel bases, tread width, and tire sizes.

An integrated headlamp aiming system measures the vehicle headlight intensity and position automatically which guides the operator to adjust the lamp position with semi-automation. 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 included in the end of line system which consists of testing for acceleration, cruise control, transmission, rear gear, dynamic braking, and engine.

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

 

Fori Automation named a Top 5 System Integrator Giant for 2020

Fori Automation has been selected as a Top 5 System Integrator Giant for 2020. The selection of System Integrator Giants is based on each respective companies revenue that is attributed to system integration. For more information on System Integrator Giants, please visit the Control Engineering webpage.

2020 Integrator Giants

The System Integrator Giants announcement can be found here.

Fori Automation privately held and U.S. owned and operated since 1984, specializes in the custom design, build and integration of automated material handling, assembly, testing and welding systems for the automotive and non-automotive industries.

Our equipment and systems include:

Products

Fori has supplied equipment across the globe for a variety of Automotive & Non-Automotive OEMs and Tier 1’s. Customer verticals served include the Aerospace, Automotive, Defense, Nuclear, Recreational Vehicle and Construction industries. With over 30 years of experience and seven locations across four continents, Fori is positioned to support its customers around the globe.

For more information on Fori Automation, please visit our website.

Automotive Assembly Systems–Assembly Line for Rear Suspension Modules

Fori recently supplied a module assembly system that included the Fori Flex Rail conveyance system which utilized Rail Guided Carts (RGCs) and a drive-thru module aligner for the assembly and alignment of a rear suspension module.

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Features:

  • Assembly Jobs Per Hour: 25 jobs per hour
  • Keys to Success: RGC conveyance, manual alignment backup
  • Results: Jobs per hour fulfillment, flexible assembly
  • Solutions: Unique track layout, drive through aligner

The module assembly system had a unique set of design constraints. One example was that the floor space available within the plant for the required rear suspension module was limited, requiring a common unload area with an existing assembly line. Due to the oddly shaped footprint available for assembly and the mandated unload area, the end user utilized Fori’s RGC to accommodate their needs for a flexible material handling and assembly system.

The system utilized a standardized Siemens control architecture, including the RGC, traffic control, and aligners. The standardization of Siemens controls was customer requested in order to match their existing controls architecture. In matching the controls architecture between all of the equipment, Fori was able to offer seamless integration into the customer’s assembly plant.

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The rear main assembly line was composed of 15 RGCs, seven operators, one automatic drive through alignment machine, and one manual backup alignment system.

For more information about Fori Automation’s RGCs, assembly systems, and aligners, please visit our website.

Aerospace Assembly–Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for Wing Assembly

Fori provided six high capacity Aerospace AGVs for the automated transport of tooling for stringer assembly, supporting the wing assembly.

Features:

  • Guidance Technology: Magnetic bar, inertial with pencil magnets, natural feature, laser contour
  • Capacity: 40,000 lbs./54,545 kg.
  • Safety: Safety scanners and bumpers, Siemens safety PLC, system interlocks
  • Controls: Siemens open architecture, vehicle management system
  • Results: Improved flexibility, decreased crane usage
  • Solutions: Vehicle synchronization, auto-leveling, vehicle management system

The six high capacity AGVs, capable of auto-leveling and synchronized transport of tooling up to 40,000 pounds have been designed to accommodate projected wing production. The AGV system is required to be synchronized during the lift of the tooling and product, as well as synchronization of the three AGVs during transport. The system includes an auto-leveling feature that dynamically levels the tooling during travel to ensure a level plane is maintained during transport between stations. The Fori AGVs will be the primary method of transporting the tooling and product through the assembly process.  Traditional assembly systems rely heavily on overhead crane utilization, whereas the AGV based solution eliminates the reliance on cranes.

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The AGVs were developed to support the customer’s lean automated manufacturing methodology. The goal of the project was to automate the entire material handling process for the assembly of the stringers (specifically the load and unload of the autoclaves used for curing the composite wing stringers). The loading of the autoclave is completed utilizing a natural feature guidance system. Then the AGV uses the walls of the loaded autoclave for the guidance in and out, while still maintaining +/- 5mm accuracy.

The design intent was to build a vehicle that was modular and interchangeable. The AGV system is required to transport many tools of different lengths and weights. The AGV system needs to be able to accommodate synchronization of up to three AGVs during the lift and transport from assembly stations.

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Each of the AGVs is outfitted with two servo based lifters and a laser alignment system which provides measurement feedback to the onboard PLC for the dynamic leveling of the tooling during transport. The system must maintain levelness within +/- 1/8” from each end of the tool.

A Fori Vehicle Management System (VMS) has been provided to monitor system I/O, communication between the AGVs, tooling and automated assembly stations. Scheduling of moves also occurs at the Fori VMS.

For more information about Fori Automation’s Aerospace AGV products, please visit our website.

 

Automotive Assembly Systems–Assembly Line for Rear Suspension Modules

Fori supplied a rear module suspension assembly line utilizing Fori Rail Guided Carts (RGC) as a conveyance and assembly method alongside two fully automatic drive-thru module alignment systems.

Features:

  • Assembly Jobs Per Hour: 45 jobs
  • Keys to Success: RGC conveyance, drive through alignment
  • Results: High build efficiency
  • Solutions: Pallet error proofing
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Drive-thru Suspension Module Aligner for Automotive Assembly

The assembly line consisted of (22) RGCs, two drive-thru aligners, (16) operators and various torque tools. The product for the rear suspension module varied between all-wheel drive and rear wheel drive vehicle variations. The build pallet on top of each RGC accommodated those variants and manipulated the ride height setting of the five link suspension by manually setting the ride height wheel in the correct position verified by a switch on the pallet.

A drive-thru aligner was also utilized within the system to help streamline the process. A lift and locate unit was located in each drive-thru aligner that would pick the pallet from the RGC and accurately present the suspension assembly for alignment.

Utilizing Fori’s RGCs allowed for a timelier changeover. The RGC system also provided long term flexibility supporting:

  • Accommodating future product changes that could add new stations.
  • Production increases that can affect station to station cycle times.
  • Production line shape if required.
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Fori Rail Guided Carts (RGC) with Custom Tooling Pallet

For more information about Fori Automation’s RGCs and assembly systems, please visit our website.