Can widget gluing and assembly line
Written by: APL
Our customer challenged APL to design and manufacture a can widget gluing and assembly line. The turnkey system design and build consists of two bespoke modules. The first module applies a two part adhesive to the widget, and the second module assembled the glued widget into the can. The minimum cycle requirement is to produce 250 cans per minute. APL drew upon its extensive experience in special purpose machinery to develop this fully automated solution.
Adhesive Dispensing Module
Two biggest issues in this project are the application of the adhesive and shingling of glued parts when queuing in line. A major objective is to ensure that dispensed adhesive does not contact or contaminate the machine components. The APL solution is based on a singular part handling solution thus removing any risk of shingling and a proven robust method to apply the adhesive.
To begin the process plastic widgets are fed from bulk into a hopper for orientation and discharge onto a gravity feed system. The widgets are then orientated through 90 degree and placed into a carrier via a star wheel for transfer to the adhesive application machine. The carriers travel on a slat chain conveyor where they are directed into one of two lanes to collate into a 21 part line.
It is established that the adhesive application is best carried out immediately after plasma treatment. This is imperative to ensure no contamination prior to adhesive application. The APL solution combines the two processes into one unit – the Plasma treatment and adhesive application are carried out by a servo driven seven head X-Y slide unit. This carries out three cycles to plasma treat and apply adhesive to 21 parts in a single row of carriers.
While the fist line of 21 carriers is being processed the other line is released to travel through the inspection station which looks for any dispensing rejects. Then a new line of 21 carriers enters the lane for processing when the dispensing cycle is complete.
Reject carriers are pushed onto a return conveyor where the reject assemblies are removed and the empty carriers re-join the main line.
Rotary Assembly Module
Assembly of the glued widget to the can is based on a continuous motion cam-driven rotary assembly module. The process starts with a pre-glued and inspected widget being presented to the assembly module in a carrier on the Slat chain outfeed conveyor from the adhesive dispensing module. The carriers are fed onto a star-wheel driven from the main table which separates the widget from the carrier and present them to a gripper finger on the main cam-driven rotary table. As the gripper fingers travel around they are turned through 180 degree to present the widgets in the correct orientation for assembly.
Inspected cans are fed into the rotary assembly module at a lower level sitting on the closed end and merged by the aid of a scroll drive into the star wheel. Orientated widget are then pushed into the can based by cam driven actuators during rotation of the table. Complete assemblies are outfeed onto a Slat chain conveyor that interfaces with customer’s downstream process.