Automotive Assembly–Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for Front End Assembly

Fori Germany recently supplied a custom designed AGV for an automotive manufacturer for their front end assembly project in Munich.


  • Guidance Technology: Optical
  • Capacity: 1,100 lbs./500 kg.
  • Safety: Safety scanners, e-stops
  • Controls: Siemens safety PLC, vehicle management system (VMS)
  • Keys to Success: Custom designed chassis, lithium ion battery, optical guidance
  • Results: Reduced infrastructure, increased flexibility

Fori Germany supplied 31 AGVs for a front end assembly line. The AGVS are used to transport the workpiece carriers that are mounted on the carrier plate of the AGV.

The total capacity required for each AGV was 1,100 pounds in order to support the pallet and associated product. The carrier plate used for locating the product was mounted onto a trunnion to provide better ergonomics and accessibility for the operator completing the assembly.


Each vehicle consisted of two fixed drive wheels, an integrated trunnion, and a 24 volt lithium ion battery to power the vehicle. The system was based on an open controls architecture, utilizing a Siemens PLC for the vehicle control.

Each vehicle utilizes a camera based guidance system that follows colored tape or paint. The optical guidance system provides a flexible, reliable and cost effective solution for guiding the vehicles throughout the assembly plant.


The system was supplied with a Siemens based Vehicle Management System (VMS) to schedule and coordinate vehicle moves, communicate with the plant and for monitoring of the vehicles.

For more information about Fori Automations’ AGVs, please visit our website.

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.  



  • 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.


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.


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 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.


  • 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.


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.


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.


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 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.



  • 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.


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.

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.


  • Assembly Jobs Per Hour: 45 jobs
  • Keys to Success: RGC conveyance, drive through alignment
  • Results: High build efficiency
  • Solutions: Pallet error proofing
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.
Fori Rail Guided Carts (RGC) with Custom Tooling Pallet

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


Automotive Assembly Systems — Assembly Line for Suspension Modules

Fori retrofitted an existing assembly line to accommodate the integration of a new vehicle platform.


The required changes to the existing front corner, rear corner, rear main line, and front main line were accompanied by many challenges, including:

  • An increase of jobs per hour (62 jobs per hour)
  • Minimal downtime during retrofit
  • Increased product complexity
  • Rework of two existing module aligners

During extensive layout and process reviews, all areas that required rework were identified so a plan could be developed to add field kits which consisted of new portions of assembly line. In order to be flexible and to accommodate the heavy variation in product, a number of robotic torque applications were added each with a common trombone torque tool to be utilized on all module complexity types.

In order to accommodate the new product, two additional aligners were reworked from another customer plant and installed on a new conveyor section of the assembly line.

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


Automotive Assembly Systems: Assembly Line for Axle Modules

Fori recently supplied a module assembly line for axle assembly. The production line consisted of a Fori twin strand conveyance system with manual assembly stations, automatic Lateral Run Out (LRO) and automatic end of line robotic vision system for inspection.



  • Assembly Jobs Per Hour: 81 jobs
  • Keys to Success: Inverted assembly process, integrated robots for vision inspection, lateral run out with WSS testing
  • Results: High build efficiency, reduction in rejected parts

The required equipment was met with a few unique challenges and aspects:

  • Inverted assembly and unloading of the vehicle side up
  • Unique LRO testing and retry methodology
  • Inverted robotic vision verification
  • Minimal area available for assembly line
Robotic vision verification

Prior to testing the LRO, the hub and rotor must be assembled on a test fixture complete with constant velocity. The joint and hub fasteners are then tightened according to production standard and are able to withstand an axial load of 100 kN. In order to accomplish these items the equipment had to lift the axle from the pallet prior to being secured.

Due to the rotors being unable to be retained flat against the hub, the equipment could not guarantee “non-contamination” that could potentially produce a fault during LRO. In order to correct this the “retry method” of the equipment was to remove the rotor, index to the next rotary present pattern and reinstall the rotor to the hub prior to LRO testing.

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


Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) – Tunnel AGVs for Pallet Transfer

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.

The Tunnel AGV pictures includes a Roller Conveyor companion cart for Pallet Transfer.


  • Guidance Technology: Magnetic bar, inertial with pencil magnets
  • Capacity: Up to 10,000 lbs./4,545 kg. (can be increased upon request)
  • 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 companion carts carrying up to 10,000 pounds. The design intent was to build a vehicle that was modular and interchangeable. In order to increase process flexibility the Tunnel AGVs are capable of docking to various companion carts, each serving a unique purpose.

Applications include pallet transfer via roller conveyors, lift tables and powered trunnions. Automated docking to the companion carts is completed with two docking or hitch pins. The docking pins ensure proper alignment to the companion cart for repeatable pick and drop.

The Tunnel AGV was designed to provide a high capacity material handling solution in the smallest footprint possible. The vehicle is comprised of two fixed drive wheels allowing for bi-directional travel and zero turn capability.

Fori - Tunnel AGV 3

A Fori Vehicle Management System (VMS) is 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 black box technology that is commonly used across the industry. 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 for Motor Cycle Assembly

Fori recently supplied an assembly system for an american motorcycle manufacturer. The system comprised of manual push pallets on a vertical conveyor system consisting of a main build line and two vertical lift support stands.



  • 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

Not all projects require high levels of automated equipment in order to meet the end users production requirements. This project is a great example of how Fori took a powered vertical conveyor system and redesigned it to a manual push pallet system based on cycle times and customer budget requirements. The updated design provided the customer increased flexibility for their long term build process. The line was designed in modular sections for future expansion of increased production as required based on customer demand.


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.

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


Automated MIG Welding Assembly System for Automotive Components

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 accommodates 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.

Dial indexers where integrated into a number of the weld cells 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 setup and run off at Fori’s global headquarters in Shelby Township, MI. Fori Mexico was responsible for installation and buy off at the end user’s production facility.


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