Wheel Alignment System with Headlamp Aiming (HLA) & Wheel Base Adjustment

Fori USA recently designed, built, and integrated a wheel alignment system with headlamp aiming (HLA) and wheelbase adjust for a customer.

The End of Line system included: non-contact wheel alignment and automatic headlamp aiming. Wheel base adjust was also included in order to handle a variety of vehicle wheel bases.

The wheel alignment machine is designed for automatic measuring of toe and camber. Feedback is supplied to the operator, who completed a manual adjustment of the vehicle parameters. The wheel alignment equipment is designed for a wide range of wheel bases and tire tread width sizes.

An integrated headlamp aimer (HLA) measures the vehicle headlight intensity and positions the aimer automatically to guide the operator to the correct adjustment necessary. The “Fori Vision” aiming unit utilizes a 2.3 megapixel camera based system to measure the intensity and position of the headlight.

The latest hi resolution camera box was also included for improving the headlamp aiming resolution and accuracy required by the latest IIHS standards.

Fori Automation Employee Spotlight Ryan Manzo – Mechanical Engineer

What does a typical day look like for you?
I will get a line up from the Project Engineer and we will go through the quote and discuss what direction we want to go with the design. Then I will start designing the machine and we will have customer reviews and then finalize it, release it, and eventually get to see everything working properly on the floor.

What’s your favorite part about working for Fori?
My favorite part about Fori is probably seeing the growth in the company. They are always trying to expand, try new things, and take on a variety of new jobs. It is also nice to see everything come together. A design starts off from just words on paper and then finally getting to see the machine functioning on the floor is really cool.

What has been the most exciting or important innovation at Fori you’ve witnessed?
Well, I haven’t been here too long but from what I have seen, probably an Aluminum Ingot Transfer AGV that had to carry 250,000 pounds. It had to move aluminum ingots from station to station across the plant.

What is your proudest moment working at Fori?
I don’t necessarily have a proudest moment, but I really enjoy working on the FEA’s – the stress analysis. We can take the machine, put it in the software, and replicate the working conditions and can see all of the stresses and deflections that are happening on the machine. We take that information and make it better and stronger. Then when we design something similar in the future we can take what we learned from that and avoid any problems.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about a career at Fori Automation?
I think it’s a great company with great people. It’s nice to work for a company that’s thinking about the future – always trying to expand and try new things. Since I’ve been here the last couple years, we’ve built a new facility across the street. And I hear we’re expanding globally. It’s always good to see a company trying to expand.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
I don’t drink coffee!

What have you gained from working at Fori?
I’ve gained a lot of knowledge on the manufacturing industry as a whole and just how everything works. The process behind everything going from a quote, to a design, to an approval, to a final build. Finally seeing it come to life is pretty cool.

How would you define success?
Success to me is learning from your past mistakes or successes and building off of that and constantly pushing yourself to be the best you can.

When you’re not at work, what are you most likely doing?
I am most likely golfing, snowboarding, or spending time with friends and family.

Automated MIG Welding Assembly System for Rear Suspension Cradles

Highly flexible, automated robotic MIG welding assembly cells, consists of (3) similar lines that accommodated customers (9) different model variations.

The rear suspension cradle satisfies approximately 90% of the vehicles in this family, with its model output accurately controlled and monitored throughout each robotic weld line.
Each line possesses (21) MIG welding robots, (3) material handling robots and utilizes a minimum number of operators. The current assembly system runs consistently between 181 seconds and 150 seconds depending on which model is being processed. After completion of the robotic welding, the critical component  characteristics are machined with a pair of precision, custom machining centers.

The integration of the MIG welding and material handling robots has decreased cycle time and increased throughput. Utilizing highly accurate machining stations and a repeatable process has also reduced waste and the quality of the final product has been greatly increased

Automated Axle Assembly Line with Automated Guided Carts (AGCs)

The Axle Assembly System sequences and processes multiple product variants utilizing Fori’s Automated Guided Cart (AGC) assembly solution.

Fori Automation’s integration of manufacturing execution systems with the AGC system allows the value added assembler the means to create multiple variants of Axle Assemblies.

The single loop style conveyor system consists of (12) AGCs to transport Axle Assemblies from incoming material dunnage through the various assembly processes and (2) off-line turntables including:

• Automatic positioning of Axle housings for various fill and drain plugs, using (2) trunnions on a turntable.
• Robotic transfer from plug turntable to dowel weld turntable to AGC load.
• Semi-auto dowel welding
• Robotic sealant apply to a variety of Axle housing carrier shapes.
• Leak test while manual start of carrier bolts.
• Manual final torque of carrier bolts.
• Manual loading with assist of various Axle shafts.

Utilizing experienced resources, Fori developed a viable process, engineered the  system, manufactured the equipment and integrated the assembly line at the end user.

Heavy Duty Wheel Alignment System with Headlamp Aiming (HLA)

Fixed audit Headlamp Aiming (HLA) systems stand alone and can be integrated within existing wheel alignment machine, pneumatic centering platform or other centering system.

The heavy duty 3D wheel alignment system was developed by Fori Automation for a facility to accommodate the heavy truck loads and 110” wheelbase ranges of various truck models.
The equipment was developed to improve the wear capability of machine load components such as the floating plates and sliding access plates for accommodating  the high throughput of the heavy duty truck models. Additionally, telescoping machine covers were provided to accommodate the long wheelbase adjustment range of 120-210”.

The machine included other special features for measuring and tracking underbody points with laser displacement modules during the truck’s suspension adjustment cycle. The machine also performed audit checks for caster measurement using the caster sweep audit process.

For HLA an above floor gantry system was provided with Y and Z servo motor positioning and the latest high resolution camera box for improving the HLA resolution and accuracy required by the latest IIHS standards.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for Mobile Paint System

Fori Automation recently provided (2) high capacity Aerospace AGVs for the automated transport of a Mobile Paint System for aircraft painting and sealant.

The (2) high capacity AGVs are utilized as mobile platforms for the transport of a mobile paint system. The paint system is for painting and sealant applications within the general assembly area. The mobile paint system seals to the outside of the aircraft fuselage, allowing for paint and sealant activities in the general assembly area of the plant.

The AGVs were developed for the transport and staging of this system. Each AGV includes (4) powered drive wheels, (4) lifters and (8) suspended swivel casters. Once the AGV moves the system into position, the AGV and system are lifted and leveled. The mobile paint system is leveled in order to maintain a proper seal to the fuselage section for pressurization. After the paint and/or sealant apply is complete, the AGV retracts the lifts to lower the mobile paint system. Once lowered, the AGV and paint system are transported to the home position to wait for the next fuselage section to be loaded into the work position.

Each of the AGVs is outfitted with (4) powered drive wheels. The powered drive wheels enable omni-directional travel and fine positioning. The AGV is required to locate within +/- 5 mm at final position. The lifters are fully adjustable, including 6” of total stroke. The suspended swivel casters were provided in order to overcome the +/- 19 mm of floor variation in the plant. Suspended swivel casters also improve weight distribution across the entire AGV system.

Control of the AGVs & mobile paint system is completed via Siemens tethered HMI. The positioning, lift and level is completed automatically via preprogrammed sequences.

Fori Automation Employee Spotlight Rob Zaiki – Project Engineer

Can you tell us about your role at Fori?
I started at Fori in the mechanical engineering department. Being new to this particular position and industry, I started out as a detailer, progressed to a designer and as of recent have taken on the role of Project Engineer.

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day consists of overseeing multiple projects. Coordinating designs directly with our customers as well as working closely internally throughout various other departments to ensure the project runs smoothly. It is a very hands on position which I really enjoy!

What is your favorite part about working for Fori?

For me, it is seeing a project start as a concept/idea, watching it progress through the design phase in 3d cad, then going through the manufacturing process on our floor before finally being delivered to the customer. It is a rewarding experience seeing our final product in the production environment. 

What has been the most exciting/important innovation at Fori that you have witnessed?
In my time at Fori, the most exciting innovations have been our AGV (automated guided vehicles) systems and technology. Each one is unique per customer request and requirements from automotive to aerospace. It really gives you a glimpse of the future of manufacturing and automation.

Describe some of your favorite projects completed at Fori or your proudest moment?
My favorite projects are the ones that require creative solutions. In particular, one of my proudest moments was when we were experiencing complications on a machine in the field and I was able to identify the issue and provide a quick solution.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about a career at Fori Automation?
Fori is a fast paced environment where you can challenge yourself, innovate and advance your career.

What does true leadership mean to you?
Working side by side, encouraging and inspiring others. It is providing the tools to maximize success and goals on an individual or team level.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I don’t drink coffee.

What have you gained from working at Fori?
I have gained many new skillsets in my time at Fori. Most notably, looking at challenges from a different perspective and thinking outside the box. No one project is the same and has its own set of challenges and roadblocks to overcome.

How do you define success?
I see success as accomplishing personal goals, challenges or tasks you set out to do. If you can set your mind to something and work to your full potential to achieve that goal, then that is true success – the goal itself is subjective.

When you’re not at work, what are you most likely doing?
Mountain biking or planning my next trip out west.

Hi Speed Audit Headlamp Aiming with Pneumatic Centering Platform

Hi-Speed Stand Alone Headlamp and ADAS Auditing with Pneumatic Centering Platform.

The high speed audit headlamp system utilizes an automatic Y and Z positioning gantry similar to what is used on production machines. Combined with the pneumatic centering platform, it provides for a means of auditing a wide variation of vehicle model headlamps with the Fori high resolution camera system. The high speed audit system provides improved throughput compared to manual headlamp audit systems.

High speed headlamp audit applications require the platform be mounted to the plant floor, so an entrance ramp is included for pulling into the platform, and backing off.

The system also provided the means for adding floor targets for a calibration check of the surround view camera system. The equipment can be utilized for adding other ADAS calibration devices in the future.

Automotive End of Line Testing Systems – Centering Platforms for ADAS Calibration

End of Line pneumatic centering platform for ADAS calibration process.

(2) Pneumatic centering platforms were provided for centering the vehicle during the ADAS calibration process. The centering actuators also included integrated string encoders to track the actual position of the vehicle for verifying centering within tolerance as required by the customer ADAS specifications.

The project required the platform be mounted to the plant floor, so entrance and ramps were included for pulling into the platform and driving off. Heavy duty roller saddles were included for this system to handle the high throughput of the heaviest vehicles.

The system also provided the means for adding floor targets, for a calibration of the surround view camera system. Additional ADAS devices were also integrated with the supplied centering system.

Assembly Line for Engine Dress, Transmission Marriage & Corner Module Marriage

Fori Automation recently provided a rail guided cart (RGC) based engine dress line. The RGC system was provided as a replacement for traditional conveyor based assembly systems.

In some ways, a traditional conveyor is reliable, proven & effective. However, when new challenges are proposed changes to the traditional methods are questioned, proven & improvements arise.

Fori’s RGCs were selected to accommodate the customer’s need for a flexible conveyance solution. The RGCs were unmatched in price when compared to traditional methods of overhead power & free chain conveyance systems. By pairing the Fori RGC with its kiln of flexible tooling, it enabled the assembly line to become whatever shape it wants without major rework to the entire system.

Not all customer plants are built the same. With the ability to provide a Rockwell or Siemens control solution Fori is able to best fit our customer’s needs. In this case, the plant is utilizing a Rockwell based controls architecture, offering seamless integration into the assembly plant.

The engine assembly line is composed of (37) RGCs & (43) operators. The new RGC assembly line was installed in late October & was production ready early first quarter of 2020.