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.

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Features:

  • 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.

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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.

Features:

  • Assembly Jobs Per Hour: 45 jobs
  • Keys to Success: RGC conveyance, drive through alignment
  • Results: High build efficiency
  • Solutions: Pallet error proofing
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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.
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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.

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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.

 

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.

Fori Germany Open House Exhibition

Fori Automation’s German Headquarters recently hosted an in-house exhibition to feature some of their latest and greatest products.

Products and projects presented included Automated Guided Carts (AGCs) for Automotive applications such as body shops and front end pre-assembly, as well as rear axle adjustment stations for axle alignment.

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Fori AGCs for Automotive Module Assembly Systems

Pictured above is an example of an AGC utilized for module assembly within the automotive industry. The vehicle will transport the work piece carriers in the front end pre-assembly line. The assembly system was comprised of over (30) vehicles.

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Low Profile AGC for Automotive Body Shop Applications

Fori Germany also developed a low profile AGC that is capable of lifting over 500 kg. and providing a total lift stroke of 350 mm for transport of car frames through a body shop. The system utilized the latest lithium ion battery technology and an optical guidance system which increased flexibility for the end user.

Fori Germany - Headquarters
Fori Germany Headquarters in Merzig, Germany

The open house exhibition was a great success for Fori Germany. Over the last year Fori Germany has supplied a number of innovative products. For more information on Fori Automation’s global locations and our products, please visit our website.

Module Aligner + Module Assembly System + Fori

Automotive Alignment Systems for Front Suspension Modules

Fori recently supplied two automated alignment cells that were required to adjust toe, camber and caster simultaneously, while ensuring the balanced marker for the drive train for 4WD models is properly positioned for ease of vehicle assembly at OEM.

The required changes for the 2016 model year were accompanied by many challenges:

  • Jobs per hour (JPH) increases
  • Minimal downtime for system installation
  • Product complexity
  • Change in model geometry
  • Rework of three current alignment machines

Fori was able to provide a solution that added two additional alignment cells each with a re-sequencing stand & integrated robot. In order to keep the flexibility of maintaining these machines, keeping sequence of the modules being built and quality, additional logic and hardware had to be developed.

Module Aligner + Fori + Module Aligment System
Suspension Module Aligner for Toe, Caster and Camber Adjustment

Modules are picked on a first come, first serve basis. After alignment the robot places the completed module in its sequence stand. From there another robot on a track extending parallel to the conveyor line will pick and place the module to the pallet it was picked from.

The Fori supplied module alignment system improved throughput for the system. The pre alignment of modules reduces alignment at final assembly and ensures proper assembly.

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

 

Module Aligner + Module Alignment + Fori Module Assembly System

Automated Alignment System for Front Suspension Modules

Fori recently provided a drive-thru Automated Dynamic Alignment cell that adjusts camber and toe. The unique aligner handles two vehicle models with different geometry.

A summary of the challenges faced include:

  • Space constraints
  • Additional tooling requirements
  • Limited tryout parts & debug time

Providing customized module alignment equipment such as this begins with a concept engineering phase. A detailed engineering study is conducted to determine if the existing vehicle model could be aligned in the same aligner as the two new vehicle models. Once feasibility was determined, it was determined that the three models could not be run together. The result was a design, process and simulation that accommodated the two new models.

Outside of the space constraints on the project, which are always a challenge. Our engineering team was tasked with supporting two different modules within the same machine, which resulted in a substantial amount of investigation and engineering.

Delivery times are becoming more and more compressed, which reduces available debug time. The key to success on the project was analyzing every failure mode with precision in order to correct & provide results that would normally take substantially more debug time.

Module Aligner + Module Assembly System + Fori
Fori – Automated Module Alignment Equipment

Each module is aligned as it enters the station. The 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.

The Fori module aligner is outfitted with unique per the vehicle frame locators, which aid in securing the part and ensuring proper adjustment of the toe & camber.

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