The Robotic MIG Welding system contains resistance spot welding, projection welding, drawn arc welding and a sealer application.
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.
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.
For more information on Fori Automation’s weld lines, please visit our website.
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.
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.
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.
Fori recently provided two high capacity Aerospace AGVs for the automated transport of a mobile robotic drill and fill system.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fori recently provided seven high capacity Aerospace AGVs for the automated transport of tooling for spar assembly, supporting the production of composite wing assemblies.
Guidance Technology: Magnetic bar, inertial with pencil magnets, natural feature/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
Keys to Success: Vehicle synchronization, custom designed chassis, and highly accurate and repeatable.
Results: Improved flexibility and decreased crane usage
The seven high capacity AGVs, capable of auto-leveling and synchronized transport of tooling up to 120,000 pounds have been designed to accommodate projected wing production. 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, the AGV based solution eliminates the reliance on cranes.
The AGVs were developed to support a lean, automated manufacturing methodology. The goal of the project was to automate the entire material handling process for the assembly of the spars. Notably, the load and unload of the autoclaves used for curing the composite wing spars. The loading of the autoclave is completed utilizing a natural feature guidance system, the AGV uses the walls of the autoclave for the guidance in and out, while still maintaining +/- five mm 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.
Each of the AGVs is outfitted with four servo based lifters and a laser alignment system which provides measurement feedback to the on-board 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 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 assembly products, please visit our website.
Fori Mexico recently broke ground on a new headquarters that provides over 70,000 square feet of production space. The new facility includes manufacturing and office space to support the continued growth of Fori Automation.
The new facility was built to support the continued growth of Fori Mexico. Over the past 3 years Fori has experienced a substantial amount of growth within its Fori Mexico division.
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 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.
Fori Automation has been selected as a Top 5 System Integrator Giant for 2019. 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.
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.
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.
Fori Automation, a global leader in the design, build and integration of material handling, assembly, testing and welding systems has further expanded its assembly and material handling product lines. Fori has added a new material handling platform to its ever growing product line to help facilitate material flow through today’s manufacturing facilities.
The Fori Flex Floor product line is a flexible material handling and assembly system that is designed to fit around the customer process and product, whereas many of the other material handling products on the market require the customer process and product to fit around the material handling system. The Flex Floor platform includes a variety of vehicles based on the same architecture that have varying levels of capability depending on the end users specific needs.
The Fori Flex Floor utilizes a heavy duty extrusion style frame that enables the footprint of each style vehicle to be modified to fit the product being assembled or the materials being moved. The Flex Floor platform utilizes commercially available drive wheels, casters, batteries, controls components and guidance. The Flex Floor platform is based on a Siemens Safety PLC based architecture, providing the end user an open architecture. Many of the other products on the market include a “black box”, requiring the user to enlist support from the equipment supplier. Each assembly and material handling system can be supplied with a Fori Vehicle Management System (VMS), enabling the system to be fully autonomous, only requiring input for scheduling of moves either from the user or from the plant production system, the Fori VMS takes care of the rest. The Flex Floor vehicles are outfitted with the latest safety components available on the market. At a minimum the vehicles are supplied with perimeter Safety Scanners, Indicator Lights, Alarms and E-stops. The Safety Scanners provide collision avoidance for the end user to ensure safety for the operator and that no damage occurs to the product or part. Additionally, each vehicle is designed to be user friendly and virtually maintenance free for the end user.
Flex Floor – RGC: Flex Floor Rail Guided Carts (RGCs) are a direct replacement for traditional, monument based conveyor systems that are typically utilized in assembly processes. Fori RGCs utilize a low profile, floor mounted rail for tracking and a single, suspended drive wheel to propel the vehicle through the assembly process.
Flex Floor 1.0: Flex Floor 1.0 is a cost effective, scalable Automated Guided Cart (AGC) that is used for a variety of applications, including assembly and material transport. The vehicle includes a single drive wheel, perfect for loop style assembly and material handling systems.
Flex Floor 2.0: Flex Floor 2.0 is based on the same platform as the Flex Floor 1.0, but provides more capability by utilizing dual drive wheels. The results are a vehicle with double the capacity and Omni-directional capability. The vehicle is capable of spinning on its center and moving laterally, resulting improved layout flexibility and the capability to transport larger assemblies, such as large truck frames.
Flex Floor 2.0T: Flex Floor 2.0T is a Tunnel style AGC that utilizes the same architecture as the Flex Floor 2.0, but also includes (2) electric hitch pins that are utilized for transportation of companion carts. These companion carts are utilized for material transport and can include a variety of attachments, including roller conveyor, lift tables and powered trunnions.
Fori Automation, Inc. 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. With over 30 years of experience and seven locations across four continents, we are positioned to support our customers around the globe.