Fori Flex Floor Product Line for Flexible Assembly & Material Handling Systems

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.

Fori - Flex Floor Logo

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.

Fori Rail Guided Carts RGCs for Automotive Module Assembly Systems
Example of Fori Flex Floor – Rail Guided Cart (RGC)  utilized for a Corner Module Assembly Line

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.

Fori - Flex Floor Rail - Flex Floor Rail Guided Carts (RGCs) for Module Assembly Systems

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.

Fori - Flex Floor 1.0 - Module Assembly Automated Guided Cart (AGC)
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.

Fori - Flex Floor 2.0 - Module Assembly Automated Guided Cart (AGC)
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 - Flex Floor 2.0T - Tunnel Style - Material Handling - Automated Guided Cart (AGC)

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.

 

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Automated Assembly Lines for the Automotive & Non-Automotive Industries

Fori Automation specializes in the custom design, build and integration of automated assembly lines for a variety of industries and products.  Fori has supplied assembly lines for the automotive, construction and recreational vehicle industries.

Our dedicated assembly and automation group has the experience to process a wide range of assembly systems across nearly any industry. Our assembly systems include: Axle, battery pack, bullet manufacturing, cockpit, door, electric stator, engine dress, glass roof, headliner, seat, motorcycle front end & saddle pack, electric scooter and many others.

Fori’s main system verticals which include, automated assembly, material handling, robotic welding and testing, enable us to be a one stop equipment supplier for the entire assembly system. Within the main system verticals, include vast experience with error proofing, data collection, MES integration, lift assists, auto-torquing and robotic handling.

Our latest material handling systems, such as our Rail Guided Carts (RGCs) or Automated Guided Carts (AGCs) have been a differentiator for our Tier 1 and OEM customers from a flexibility and scalability perspective versus a traditional conveyor system.

RGCs and AGCs improve tear down and setup times and also allow the end user to scale their material handling system based on projected production rates. The ability to re-utilize their capital expenditure on future programs through a simple tooling change is another long term benefit.  Below is a success story where one of automotive Tier 1 customers utilized a fully automated assembly line with RGCs for their assembly system.

For more information on Fori Automation’s available products and automated systems, please visit our website.

Automated Material Handling Products for the Automotive & Non-Automotive Industries

We are proud to announce that we have added (4) automated material handling platforms to help facilitate material flow through today’s manufacturing facilities.

These developments include Automated Tuggers, Powered Drive Wheel Systems, High Capacity AGVs and Synchronization of automated vehicles for the transport of large tooling.

The systems are designed to increase safety, throughput and accuracy and are supplied to replace traditional material handling methods such as fork lifts, manned Tuggers and overhead cranes. The systems are fully configurable to vary the level of automation depending on the requirements of the end user. The AGV control can be as simple as utilizing a control pendant to manually move the vehicle, all the way up to the highest level of automation which includes a Fori Vehicle Management System (VMS) or Traffic Control. A VMS allows the system to be fully autonomous, only requiring input for scheduling of moves, the VMS takes care of the rest.

Fori’s software is based on a Siemens Safety PLC for the vehicle control, providing an open architecture for the end user. Utilization of the Safety PLC based system eliminates the “black box” supplied by many of the AGV companies in the industry. All Fori AGVs 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. Additionally, each vehicle is designed to be user friendly and virtually maintenance free for the end user.

Automated Tuggers: Tuggers are a direct replacement for Fork Lifts. The vehicles are utilized for transporting carts, kits and various product throughout the manufacturing process.

 

Powered Drive Wheels: Powered Drive Wheels are modular drive wheel sets that are mounted to mobile tooling or operator platforms for automated mobilization. The systems utilize a standard control architecture that is expandable to support added powered drive wheels in order to increase capacities.

Fori Automation - Powered Drive Wheels for Platform & Tooling Mobilization
Fori offers a variety of Powered Drive Wheels with a wide range of capacities that can be mounted to tooling or operator platforms for automated guidance.

 

High Capacity AGV: AGVs are used for a variety of applications that are traditionally completed with an overhead crane. Fori AGV capacities are upwards of 250,000 lbs.

 

Synchronized AGVs: When required multiple vehicles can be synchronized to move large tooling, this methodology allows a single, modular vehicle design to be provided to the end user, but multiples of two or three vehicles can be used for lift and carry of various tools.

 

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.

For more information of Fori Automation’s products and capabilities, please visit our website.

 

Chassis Marriage, Chassis Marriage AGVs, Chassis Marriage Automated Guided Vehicles, Electric Chain Lifts

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for Automotive Chassis Marriage

Fori recently supplied a custom designed Chassis Marriage Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) for an electric vehicle manufacturer.

Over the past twenty years, Fori automation has been a leader in Automotive Chassis Marriage. Chassis Marriage, the process of bringing the car body and chassis together, has been primarily completed with the use of Rail Guided Vehicles (RGVs).

The Chassis Marriage process is completed utilizing integrated lifts and custom tooling pallets to support various chassis depending on the model of vehicle being manufactured. The Chassis Marriage process is completed once the operator does a final torque of fasteners, bringing the car body and chassis together.

Fori - Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) for Chassis Marriage
Fori Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) provide increased flexibility and reduced infrastructure versus traditional Chassis Marriage methods.

The utilization of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for Chassis Marriage has increased flexibility for the end user by removing the monuments that are required on RGV based Chassis Marriage systems. The Chassis Marriage AGVs utilize a number of different power sources and guidance methods. Power sources include both lead acid and lithium ion batteries, induction and some cases a combination of both battery and induction power. Guidance can be completed in a number of ways, the guidance systems utilized most frequently are magnetic guidance, induction or optical.

Each Chassis Marriage AGV includes (2) integrated Fori electric lifts that are used for raising the drive train of the vehicle to the body. Each lift is capable of lifting up 2,500 kg. and upon request can reach lift strokes of up to 52″ depending on the project requirements.

Utilization of AGVs within Chassis Marriage has resulted in increased system flexibility, decreased plant infrastructure for the end user and has provided a scalable solution allowing for addition of vehicles based on expected production rates.

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

Automotive Assembly Line + Fori Assembly System + Scooter & Motorcycle Assembly

Automotive Assembly System – Battery & Scooter Line

Fori recently integrated a flexible assembly system for a scooter assembly line. The line currently utilizes a scalable manufacturing methodology, enabling the end user to increase automation as production requirements increase.

The assembly system is made up of a single assembly loop and two offline stations. The two offline stations consist of a battery assembly area, along with a tire & wheel assembly area.

A unique characteristic about this assembly loop is the manual carts are tied into a track that resides on the floor similar to the Fori Flex Rail system that utilizes Rail Guided Carts (RGCs).

The unique equipment provided includes:

  • Flexible production tooling pallets
  • Bushing press
  • Heavy duty torque tube for front fork attachment
  • Robotic sealant dispensing cell
Automated Sealant + Fori + Assembly Systems
Automotive Assembly System – Automated Sealant Apply

Implementation of these types of scalable assembly systems allow the end user to minimize upfront expenditure and utilize a cash flow structure which supports increased automation as throughput requirements increase.

For more information on Fori’s available equipment, please visit our website.

 

Fori + Fori AGV + Aerospace AGV + Aerospace Automated Guided Vehicle + Aerospace Automated Material Handling

Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) for Aerospace Component Assembly

Fori recently provided two custom designed, high capacity Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for a large Aerospace OEM. The AGVs were utilized for component material handling and assembly.

Over the past decade, there has been a strong push in the Aerospace industry to increase Automation. Main drivers for this initiative include decreased crane utilization, process control, improved safety and reduction in product damage and waste.

The AGVs supplied required a customized frame design in order to mimic the footprint of the transported tooling. The project team had specific requirements on the length, width and height of the vehicle, as well as deflection requirements for the AGV frame while transporting the part and tooling. These requirements required a substantial engineering effort through the utilization of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to ensure the final design would meet all the design requirements.

Aerospace AGV + Automated Guided Vehicle + Fori AGV + Fori Automated Material Handling
Fori Aerospace Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) for Aircraft Component Assembly

Fori AGVs are Siemens safety PLC based, providing an open controls architecture, eliminating the “black box” provided by many material handling suppliers. The AGV system is outfitted with the latest and greatest safety devices available. The AGVs provided include perimeter safety bumpers and 360º SICK safety scanner coverage to ensure collision avoidance.

Responsibilities of the AGVs include:

  • Lift & Transport up to 90,000 lbs.
  • Minimize tooling & part deflection
  • Accurate and repeatable tool placement
  • Fully automated order scheduling & completion

Utilization of AGVs has resulted in decreased reliance on overhead cranes, providing a reduction in product damage and an increase in system efficiency and most importantly safety.

For more information on Fori AGVs, please visit our website.

 

Aerospace Drill & Fill + Aerospace AGV + Aerospace Automated Guided Vehicle + Fori + Fori AGV

Aerospace Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) for Automated Drill & Fill

Manual drill & fill has been a topic of conversation within the Aerospace industry due to the health and safety concerns. Utilization of automated drill & fill systems with a mobile platform has helped alleviate these concerns.

Fori recently supplied a custom Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) for automated drill & fill. The automated drill & fill system is used for the side panel of a large commercial aircraft.

The AGV is required to auto-lift and level the platform upon arrival in each production station. The AGV must be positioned within +/- .005″ and level within +/- .16 degrees. This is accomplished through the utilization of inclinometer feedback and precision servo motion control.

Aerospace AGV + Automated Guided Vehicle + Aerospace Material Handling
Fori Aerospace Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) for Automated Drill & Fill Tooling Transport

Strict requirements were placed on the actual AGV frame design and the allowable deflection while traveling. The frame was designed to deflect less than .03″ during transport of the drill & fill system from station to station.

AGVs within the Aerospace industry will enable the automated tooling to move to the part versus traditional systems where the part has always moved to the tool or machine station. The results will include minimized part handling and a substantial reduction in crane utilization.

Long term, the automated drill & fill system will minimize safety and health concerns, while increasing throughput.

For more information on Fori Aerospace AGVs, please visit our website or contact us at sales@foriauto.com.

Robotic Assembly + Automated Assembly + Module Assembly + Rail Guided Cart + RGC

Fori Flex Rail – Rail Guided Cart (RGC) Assembly System for Rear Suspension Modules

A Fori Flex Rail system, utilizing Rail Guided Carts (RGCs) was recently supplied for a rear suspension module build. The system consisted of a main build line, two module alignment machines and a final assembly build line.

The utilization of a Flex Rail System and Rail Guided Carts provides the utmost flexibility for those customers who need to be able to accommodate change easily. The ability to be flexible in the automotive world means less downtime, cost and reduced infrastructure during installation.

Rail Guided Cart based assembly systems are becoming the norm on Fori’s Automotive Assembly Systems. The systems can be modified easily, whether it be adding a station or even accommodating fluctuations in throughput requirements.

Automation + Module Assembly + Module Aligner + Wheel Alignment
Fori Flex Rail System – Rail Guided Cart Assembly System with Integrated Robots

Each Rail Guided Cart is a stand along unit with an integrated Siemens Safety PLC and Wireless Client. Utilization of the PLC based system, results in an open architecture to the end user. Each of the carts are outfitted with safety bumpers and collision avoidance laser scanners to ensure the safety of the operators. A video of the Fori Rail Guided Cart can be found here.

Overhead support to the operators for tooling in most cases are simple jib booms and inverted “L” posts that are bolted to the floor to promote flexibility of the system. In instances where sequence and repeatability are critical, a robot is integrated for final torquing and the load and unload of assemblies.

Benefits of the Fori Flex Rail Systems utilizing Rail Guided Carts include:

  • Increased safety
  • Improved part and assembly access
  • Decreased plant infrastructure
  • Reusable for future programs
  • Scalable solution – add or remove carts for production fluctuations

For more information on Fori Rail Guided Carts please visit our website or contact us at sales@foriauto.com.

Fori + Nuclear AGV + Automated Guided Vehicle

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for Nuclear Power Plant Refurbishment

Fori recently supplied two high capacity, halogen free Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for a nuclear power plant refurbishment project. The AGVs will result in decreased total infrastructure and long term flexibility for the project team.

Two different high capacity Fori AGVs were designed and built to meet a number of different design requirements. The requirements included specific accuracy, repeatability, dimensions and total load capacities.

The AGV system was designed to support a refurbishment project that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Each of the vehicles had unique requirements, supporting different dimensional and capacity requirements for safe and reliable operation within the work area.

  • The first vehicle included strict height, width and length requirements, while still providing the capability of transporting up to 18,000 lbs.
Automated Guided Vehicle + AGV + Fori + Nuclear AGV + Nuclear Material Handling
Fori Automated Guided Vehicle for Nuclear Power Plant Refurbishment – 18,000 lbs. Capacity
  • A larger vehicle was also required for the project that was rated to carry up to 70,000 lbs.
Fori + AGV + Nuclear AGV + Nuclear Material Handling + Automated Guided Vehicle
Fori Automated Guided Vehicle for Nuclear Power Plant Refurbishment – 70,000 lbs. Capacity

The Fori AGVs were required to locate within +/- 5mm and allow for finite manual adjustment while handling equipment for the project. A Siemens MP277 Wireless Mobile Panel was provided to the operators for manual adjustment and control.

Due to the 24/7/365 project requirement a lithium ion battery system was utilized, the lithium ion system provided a more reliable power source, that will result in an increased total life of the battery pack and less overall charge time. The system is designed to facilitate charging during load and unload of equipment, minimizing production downtime.

The vehicles have reduced total plant infrastructure for the project, improved safety and increased long term flexibility.

Fori has supplied over 1,000 automated vehicles over the last twenty years, for more information please visit our website.

AGV + Automated Guided Vehicle + Automated Material Handling

Dock N’ Lock Automated Guided Vehicles for Flexible, Reliable and Safe Material Handling

Cost effective, flexible Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) solutions have allowed automotive companies to implement a flexible, safe, reliable and repeatable material handling solution within their assembly processes.

The Fori 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 majority of fork lift traffic, creating a “fork free” environment.

AGV + Automated Guided Vehicle + Automated Material Handling
Fori Automation – Dock N’ Lock AGV for Automated Material Handling

The Dock N’ Lock AGVs are responsible for auto-docking to the companion carts pictured above. The previous methodology utilizing fork lifts and pallets resulted in injury and product damage concerns. Utilization of the repeatable and accurate guidance, along with integrated safety has solved this problem.

The automated locking feature and cart interface design is what differentiates the Dock N’ Lock AGV from standard Tuggers. The ability to automatically connect to the carts removes the need for operator interface and cart staging. The cart and Dock N’ Lock design also allows the AGVs to be bi-directional, which results in greater long term layout flexibility. An overview video of the Fori Dock N’ Lock and Tugger AGV can be found here.

A fully integrated Fori Vehicle Management System (VMS) is also provided with the system. The Fori VMS acts a traffic cop for the AGVs and manages the routing of 20+ AGVs in some cases. The VMS has the ability to track and store faults, monitor battery status and communication with automated work cells.

Fori more information on Fori’s Automated Material Handling equipment please visit our website.