Automated Guided Vehicle for Automotive Chassis Decking Line

Fori recently provided a 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: Scanners, 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 includes dual independent lifters capable of lifting and transporting 4,000 pounds in order to install the front and rear suspension and drivetrain modules. 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 of the AGV and reduced plant infrastructure allow the AGV to easily interact with other systems and processes. The AGV is outfitted with multiple safety measures that ensure collision avoidance.

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

For more information on Fori’s Chassis Marriage AGVs, please visit our website.

 

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) — Tunnel AGVs

Fori recently designed and built a Tunnel AGV to support its global customers. The Tunnel AGVs are utilized for transporting product and dunnage throughout the production process.

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Features:

  • Guidance Technology: Magnetic bar, inertial with pencil magnets
  • Capacity: 5,000 lbs./2,272 kg.
  • Safety: Safety scanners and bumpers, Siemens safety PLC, system interlocks
  • Controls: Siemens open architecture, vehicle management system
  • Keys to Success: Custom designed chassis, highly accurate and repeatable
  • Results: Improved flexibility

The Fori Tunnel AGVs are capable of automated docking and transport of carts up to 5,000 pounds. The Tunnel AGVs were developed to support the continued lean automated manufacturing methodology of the end user. The design intent was to build a vehicle that was modular and interchangeable.

In order to increase flexibility the Tunnel AGVs are capable of docking to various companion carts, each serving a unique purpose. Applications include pallet transfer, lift tables, powered trunnions and many others. Docking to the companion carts is completed with two docking pins. The docking pins ensure proper alignment to the companion cart for repeatable pick and drop.

The Tunnel AGV was designed to minimize the total footprint. With a height of 14 inches, the vehicle provides a high capacity material handling solution in a small footprint. The vehicle is comprised of two fixed drive wheels allowing for bi-directional travel and zero turn capability.

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If required, a Fori Vehicle Management System (VMS) can be utilized for scheduling of vehicles and traffic management of the system. The vehicle controls are based on an open architecture utilizing a Siemens safety PLC, eliminating the dated black box technology that is commonly used. The Tunnel AGV has proven to be a cost effective and reliable material handling system for a variety of applications.

For more information on Fori’s automated material handling products, please visit our website.

Non-Automotive Assembly: Manual Vertical Conveyor System

Fori supplied manual push pallets on a vertical conveyor system consisting of a main build line and two vertical lift support stands.

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Features:

  • Assembly Units Per Day: 500 units/2 shifts
  • Keys to Success: Operator ergonomics, flexible tooling, loop configuration, modular sections for line expansion
  • Results: Quality built assemblies, on time turnkey install

Fori took a powered vertical conveyor system and redesigned it to a manual push pallet system based on cycle times and cost requirements. The redesign provided the customer increased flexibility for their process. The line was designed in modular sections for future expansion of increased production or added processes.

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The ability to be flexible with the pallet provided the ability to use the vertical conveyor for more than current parts or model changes. Overhead support for tooling was a jib boom that bolted to the floor to remove the assembly to dunnage.

The vertical conveyor system was integrated during the first quarter of 2017. The project was a great success for the customer and Fori Automation.

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

 

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for Horizontal Wing Assembly

Fori recently provided six high capacity Aerospace Tugger AGVs for the automated transport of tooling, supporting the horizontal build line for wing assembly. 

Features:

  • Guidance Technology: Magnetic bar, inertial with pencil magnets, natural feature and laser contour
  • Capacity: 120,000 lbs./54,545 kg.
  • Safety: Safety scanners and bumpers, Siemens safety PLC, system interlocks
  • Controls: Siemens open architecture, vehicle management system (VMS)
  • Keys to Success: Vehicle synchronization, custom designed chassis, highly accurate and repeatable.
  • Results: Improved flexibility, decreased crane usage

The six high capacity Tugger AGVs (capable of automated docking and transport of tooling up to 120,000 pounds) have been designed to accommodate projected production. The AGVs will be the primary method of transporting the tooling and product through the assembly process.

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The AGVs were developed to support a lean automated manufacturing methodology. The design intent was to build a vehicle that was modular and interchangeable. The AGV system is required to transport nine different tools, all with different weights and footprints. Due to tools exceeding lengths of 100 feet, the AGVs are required to dock at each end of the tool and move in tandem.

The automated docking utilizes a natural feature and camera based guidance system, which accommodates unexpected movement of the tooling. The system measures the surface of the tooling to generate angular offsets and utilizes a SICK camera and reflector based system for final location. Once positioned, servo driven couplers automatically pin spring loaded receivers mounted to the tooling. The tooling is also outfitted with safety scanners powered and controlled by the AGV.

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Responsibilities of the AGVs include: automated docking, tooling identification and transport throughout the facility. 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 between the vehicle Siemens Mobile Panel and the Fori VMS.

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

 

Automated MIG Welding Assembly System for Front Suspension Cradles

The Robotic MIG Welding system contains resistance spot welding, projection welding, drawn arc welding and a sealer application.

Features:

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

The robotic weld system provided accommodations for multiple structural end item assemblies that consisted of resistance spot welding, projection welding, drawn arc welding, as well as a sealer application. The system contained multiple welding cells with a total of 50 robots.

The end item assemblies within this program were Load Beams, Rear Quarter Inner, Rear Closure Inner Assembly, Dash Assembly, Cowl Side, Center Floor Pan Assembly and Sill Outer. Some welding cells utilized dial indexers to improve the efficiency of the robots. Within the process some robots carried weld guns while others were material handling robots that moved the assemblies through pedestal welders (spot, projection and drawn arc) or pedestal sealers.

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Fori USA was responsible for Project Management, Engineering, Assembly and Integration. All cells were run off at Fori’s global headquarters in Shelby Township, MI. Fori Mexico was responsible for installation and run off at the customer’s facility.

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For more information on Fori Automation’s weld lines, please visit our website.

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Fori Automation on Crain’s Fast 50 List for 2019!

Crain’s Detroit Business has listed Fori as number 25 on their Fast 50 list for 2019. This list is compiled to highlight the fastest growing companies in Southeast Michigan.

25. Fori Automation Inc.

Revenue 2015: $164,000,000 | Revenue 2018: $240,000,000
Three-year percentage change: 46
What it does: Design and build of automated material handling, assembly, testing and welding systems for the automotive, aerospace, agriculture, recreational vehicle and alternative energy industries.
How it grew: Diversification strategies that include investing in new product development for assembly, testing, welding and material handling systems. The company began focusing on automotive opportunities outside of its traditional assembly equipment in 2008, including welding systems, material handling systems and automation systems for both global automotive car manufacturers and tier one suppliers. Fori has also expanded into aerospace, military, recreation vehicle, construction and agriculture, heavy metals and alternative energy industries. The company also expanded globally, with design and build facilities in China, Korea, India, Germany, Brazil, Mexico and Spain.

To check out the rest of the list, visit Crain’s website. To find out more about how Fori has expanded to meet your automation needs, please visit our website.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for Aluminum Ingot & Coil Handling

Fori recently supplied three high capacity AGVs for the automated transport of aluminum ingots for coil production. 

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Features:

  • Guidance Technology: Magnetic bar, inertial with pencil magnets
  • Capacity: 250,000 lbs./113,636 kg.
  • Safety: Safety scanners and bumpers, Siemens safety PLC, system interlocks
  • Controls: Siemens open architecture, vehicle management system
  • Keys to Success: Custom designed chassis, highly accurate and repeatable
  • Results: Improved flexibility, decreased crane usage

The (3) high capacity automated guided vehicles (AGVs) were supplied to replace a legacy system that was over 20 years old. The Fori AGVs will be the primary method of transporting the aluminum ingots through the finishing process. Traditional handling systems rely heavily on overhead crane utilization, but the AGV based solution reduces reliance on cranes.

The AGVs were designed to fit within the existing plant and process. One of the biggest challenges on the project was packaging eight drive wheels and (2) 100 ton capacity lifts within the existing vehicle footprint. Each drive wheel was outfitted with a suspension system to ensure proper radial loading and equal load distribution between the (8) drive wheels. Another improvement on the Fori system was ball screw based lift jacks that included integrated load cells for measuring fore/aft and side to side loading of the ingot. If the ingot is loaded outside of an acceptable range, the AGV stops immediately and sets down the ingot.

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The Fori AGV utilizes a 72VDC sealed lead acid battery as a power supply.  The vehicles utilize PMAC motors that provide improved control and efficiency over the previous system which utilized DC brushed motors. Each vehicle had a safety bumper front and rear, as well as six safety scanners around the perimeter of the vehicle to provide added safety coverage.

A Fori Vehicle Management System has been provided to monitor system I/O, manage communication between the AGVs and scheduling of moves for production.

For more information about Fori Automation’s high capacity AGV capabilities, please visit our website.

 

 

Automated Guided Vehicles for Robotic Drill & Fill System

Fori recently provided two high capacity Aerospace AGVs for the automated transport of a mobile robotic drill and fill system.

Mobile Robot for Automated Drill & Fill
Image Source

Features:

  • Guidance Technology: Magnetic bar, natural feature/laser contour
  • Capacity: 40,000 lbs./18,181 kg.
  • Safety: Safety scanners and bumpers, Siemens safety PLC, system interlocks
  • Controls: Siemens open architecture
  • Keys to Success: Custom designed chassis, highly accurate and repeatable
  • Results: Improved flexibility

The two high capacity AGVs (transporting mobile robotic platforms with weights up to 40,000 pounds) have been designed to accommodate projected production. The Fori AGVs will be the primary method of transporting the mobile robots between each of the necessary drilling stations.

The AGVs were developed to increase system automation, flexibility, and remove the traditional monuments that are generally required for automated drilling applications. The design intent was to build a vehicle that was modular and interchangeable. The AGVs were designed to accommodate multiple mobile robots, the software is modular, and simplifies the communication between the Fori AGV and mobile robot.

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The Fori AGV is required to locate within +/- 5mm to an existing fuselage transporter. The Fori system utilizes a natural feature and camera based guidance system, which accommodates unexpected location of the transporter. The Fori system overcomes the variability of the fuselage transporters accuracy by measuring the surface of the transporter to generate angular offsets and utilizes a SICK camera and reflector based system for final location. Once positioned, the mobile robot automatically docks to the transporter for power, communication, and pneumatics.

Automated movement is handled through the tethered Siemens Mobil Panel. The operators are able to select drill positions on either the Fori HMI or robot HMI. Once selected the Fori AGV is responsible for safely and accurately lifting and transporting the two mobile robots between 16 different drill positions.

For more information about our drilling platform AGVs, please visit our website.

 

Suspension Module Aligner for Rear Axle Pre-Assembly

The automated dynamic alignment cell is a drive through system that adjusts Camber and Toe. The Fori module aligner handles (2) vehicle models that have different geometry.

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Providing customized equipment such as this starts with a concept design phase. Fori Germany was requested to complete a thorough engineering review in order to accommodate the rear axle assembly of the (3) vehicles.

A challenging portion to any project is the ability to debug and tryout the process. This project had limited time of debug. 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.

The system was comprised of an axle gripping unit that is used for locating and lifting the axle. An alignment unit is also utilized in order to increase repetition. The adjustment and torque is completed with SEW drives and a special gear head.

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This new drive alignment cell was integrated during the 3rd quarter of 2017. Initial production started during December of 2017.

For more information about Fori Automation’s module assembly products, please visit our website.

Automotive Chassis Marriage System with Rail Guided Vehicles (RGVs)

Fori China recently designed, built and integrated a Chassis Marriage system for a Germany Plant.

Features:

  • 80 jobs per hour (JPH)
  • Increased production rate
  • Reduced labor
  • Decreased injury concerns

Fori China was responsible for supplying the Chassis Marriage Rail Guided Vehicles (RGVs), associated track, overhead loader and PLC control system that controls the loop.

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The Chassis Marriage RGVs are based on Fori’s long standing design and architecture. Each RGV includes two Fori patented servo controlled chain lifts for the synchronized lift and locate of the front and rear pallet.

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The Fori RGV is focused on maintainability and simplicity for the end user. The system has been a robust solution for many years, pushing Fori to become a leader in Chassis Marriage systems.

The integrated system was a great success for the end user. Installation was completed during the 3rd quarter of 2017, with initial production beginning in August of 2017.

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