Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for Composite Wing Assembly

 Fori recently provided seven high capacity Aerospace AGVs for the automated transport of tooling for spar assembly, supporting the production of composite wing assemblies. 

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Features:

  • 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.
  • ResultsImproved 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.

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

 

Fori Mexico Expansion

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 - New Facility
Fori Automation broke ground on the new Fori Mexico facility in January of 2019.

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.

1. Fachada
The new facility will support the continued growth of Fori 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 named a Top 5 System Integrator Giant for 2019

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.

Our equipment and systems include:

robotic welding system
Automotive Robotic Welding System for SUV & Truck Frame

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.

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

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.

 

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.

 

Fori China Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Fori China, founded in late 2007 recently celebrated their 10 year reunion.

Fori Automation is proud to announce the 10 year anniversary of Fori China located in Beijing, China. Fori China’s turnkey design and build capabilities have been instrumental in supporting Fori Automation’s customers in Asia and around the world.

Fori China - 10 Year - 3
The five original Fori China employees receive recognition for their 10 years of service.

With over 250 employees, Fori China has proven themselves to be a prominent turnkey design and build system integrator. Fori China specializes in End of Line Testing equipment, Chassis Marriage Systems and Assembly Systems for the Automotive Industry.

Fori Automation is a global designer and builder of Material Handling, Assembly, Testing and Welding Systems. Headquartered in Shelby Township, MI.

For more information on the full product portfolio and global locations, please visit our website.

Fori Global Headquarters Expansion for Welding Business Unit

Fori Automation recently expanded its Global Headquarters with the addition of a new 50,000 square foot facility. The new facility includes manufacturing and office space to support the continued growth of Fori Automation.

The new facility was built to support the Welding Business Unit and its customers. Over the past 3 years Fori has experienced a substantial amount of growth within its Robotic Welding Business Unit. The Welding Business Unit focuses on Automated MIG, Projection and Spot Welding for the Automotive Industry.

Fori Welding Building Opening - Welding Business Unit - 1
Fori Welding Business Unit Team

Thanks to the addition of 55 new employees during 2017 and the added manufacturing space we will be able to better support our global customers. With the addition of 55 new hires in 2017, Fori USA now has over 260 employees at its Global Headquarters and over 650 globally. Fori is continuing to add members to the team in order to support the growth of the organization, to view open positions click here.

Fori Automation - Robotic Welding System for Truck Frame
Robotic Welding System for a Large Truck Frame

The new facility is located across the street from Fori Automation’s Global Headquarters in Shelby Township, MI.

Fori USA - New Building - 2
Fori Automation’s New 50,000 Square Foot Robotic Welding Facility

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 named a Top 5 System Integrator Giant for 2018

Fori Automation has been selected as a Top 5 System Integrator Giant for 2018. 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.

Our equipment and systems include:

Automation + Module Assembly + Module Aligner + Wheel Alignment
Fori Rail Guided Cart (RGC) Module Assembly System with Module Aligner

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.

For more information on Fori Automation, 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.

Fori Germany - Open House - 2
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.

Fori Germany - Automated Guided Cart for Body Shop - 1
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.