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.

Assembly & Alignment Line for Rear Suspension Modules

Fori Automation recently provided a module assembly and alignment line with limited floor space available. The system is between an existing assembly line & plant wall with the inability to get material to all parts of the assembly line required a unique process.

The minimal footprint available for assembly provided challenges for common 22unload areas within an existing assembly line. The Fori RGCs were utilized to accommodate our customer’s need for a flexible material handling system.

The assembly system included a consolidated kit area. The kit area was specific to loading and hand starting parts followed by an area for torqueing. Due to the foot print constraints the process had to be strategic on how to best utilize the available space. The project also included a fully automatic suspension module aligner & backup semi-automatic aligner.

The utilization of Siemens controls matched the controls architecture for the end user and provided a seamless integration into the assembly plant.

The rear main assembly line was composed of (17) RGCs, (16) operators, (1) automatic drive through suspension module alignment machine & one semi-automatic backup alignment system.

The new RGC assembly line was installed early June of 2018 & was production capable in Fall of 2018.

Battery Decking – Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for Vehicle Battery Marriage

Fori Automation has further improved on its standard Tugger AGV design by incorporating a Fori chain lift and pallet tooling for lithium ion battery decking.

Fori AGVs have been used for a variety of material handling applications within the automotive industry. Most recently Fori was enlisted to supply a derivative of the standard Tugger product line that has a built in electric lift and pallet tooling to be used for marrying the electric vehicle battery to the chassis.

The AGV was required to synchronize with the vehicle chassis in the overhead carrier. The synchronization was a challenge in itself as there was no physical tracking arm. All of the vehicle synchronization for battery decking was completed  utilizing tracking cameras and encoder positioning. The most important process consideration was the safe and reliable positioning of the product for the operators.

Further improvement was the integration of a Fori Vehicle Management System (VMS). The Fori VMS allows for vehicle scheduling, charging, vehicle status information and traffic control. The Fori battery decking AGV platform partnered with the Fori VMS is a proven and robust product that can be applied to a variety of material handling applications.

Dock N’ Lock – Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for Product Delivery

Cost effective, flexible AGV solutions have allowed automotive companies to implement a safe, reliable and repeatable material handling solution within their build processes.

The Dock N’ Lock AGVs were built to fit within existing plants and each plants respective material handling strategy. The AGVs were commissioned to replace non-value added material handling tasks. Specifically as a direct replacement for all of the fork lifts, creating a “fork free” environment. The Dock N’ Lock AGVs are responsible for auto-docking to the pictured companion carts. Previous methodology utilizing fork lifts was not a safe or reliable option, the Dock N’ Lock AGVs solved this problem.

The automated locking feature is what differentiates the Dock N’ Lock AGVs from standard Tuggers. The AGVs were required to auto-couple to newly developed racks, doing so removed the need for operator interface and allowed the end user to relocate operators to value added activities. The vehicles were required to repeatedly locate within +/- 10mm and travel at speeds up to 200 feet per minute.

A fully integrated, automated Vehicle Management System (VMS) was also provided. The VMS handles the traffic routing between the 19+ vehicles that are currently operating within the system. The VMS has the ability to track and store faults, monitor battery consumption and ensure safe operation by monitoring all safety devices.

Automated Alignment System for Rear Suspension Modules

Fori Automation Designed & Built (3) automated static alignment cells. This is a pallet pass through system that adjusts camber & toe. The aligner handles (2) vehicle models that have different geometry.

The project challenges included:
• Packaging additional tooling
• Limited module tryout

Providing customized equipment such as this starts with a concept design phase. Fori engineering was requested to provide a detailed engineering study. Upon completion of engineering and feasibility study, it was determined that the (2) new models could be ran together. Through the design, process and simulation, Fori was able to fit multiple tooling features for the (2) new models with different geometry.

 

 

The suspension module aligner knows which model is in the station based on a broadcast from the OEM, as well as position sensors placed in the machine, automatically initiating the correct tooling combinations.

A challenging portion for any project is the ability to debug and tryout the process. The key to success was analyzing every failure mode with precision in order to correct and provide results that would normally require more debug time.