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Demand-driven assembly

Production planners at a renowned Swabian producer of hand tools faced the challenge of adapting the assembly equipment to rapidly increasing production quantities.

To adapt the assembly equipment to rapidly increasing production quantities. 

A sequential line layout with workstations linked by a pallet conveyor system.

Demand-driven assembly of a high number of product variants.

Flexible assembly procedures

Previously, the electric hand tools were assembled in a manually operated 'takt' line. Increasing production volumes and a high variety of equipment and market-related specifications, required a 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 pre-assembly and in 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 in Offenbach, Germany, and the customer. One of the first aims was to design and implement semi-automated solutions in the operations where it was motivated. To suit the purpose, semi-automatic press stations were designed for the pre-assembly of the rotor and machine head. The final assembly line, with six manual and automatic workstations, is based on an XT twin track pallet conveyor system. One of the workstations is a fully automatic test station where the hand tools are running 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" To further facilitate flexibility and easy changeovers, all pressing and assembly workstations, and test equipment are organised in layouts combining cells and and parallel flows. Additional workstations and cells are easily added to the line, further enhancing future changes and increases in capacity.