Production planners at a renowned Swabian producer of hand tools faced the challenge of adapting the assembly equipment to rapidly increasing production quantities.
Flexible assembly procedures
The original assembly of the electric hand tool was a manually operated 'takt' line. Increasing production volumes and a wide variety of equipment and market-related specifications required higher flexibility than before in the assembly line. The solution was a sequential layout of the workstations along the line, which can deliver the pallets to the workstations in a sequential flow for the pre-assembly and parallel sequence for final assembly and testing. The result was a highly efficient and flexible line for pre-assembly, final assembly, and testing, with mixed manual and automatic operations.
Single source supply
The new assembly line was developed in close cooperation between FlexLink Germany and the customer. One of the first aims was to design and implement semi-automated solutions in the operations where it was motivated, creating press stations for the rotor and machine head pre-assembly.
The final assembly line is an XT twin-track pallet conveyor with six manual and automatic workstations. One workstation is a fully automated test station where the hand tools run complete test cycles for performance verification. Finally, there is a manual workstation for manual testing, visual inspection, and packaging.
Flexibility for a new tool generation
Additional advantages with the new assembly and test line are highly improved flexibility and new product introductions.
"The changeover to an entirely new machine design is done in less than a day."
Organizing all pressing and assembly workstations and test equipment in layouts that combine cells and parallel flows facilitate further flexibility and easy changeovers. Additional workstations and cells are easily added to the line, further enhancing future changes and increasing capacity.