Can Widget Gluing and Assembly Line

APL was challenged to design and manufacture a fully automatic can widget gluing and assembly line. The turnkey system design and build consists of two bespoke modules.

Can Widget Gluing and Assembly Line


  • Use of gravity feed technology for Infeed
  • Plasma treatment – Reject removal and segregation
  • Life expectancy of Viscotec pumps and dispenser
  • Considerations for heating resin to 45 deg C
  • Inspection of can before in feed to system
  • Considerations to give Widget turnover maximum time
  • Collapse mechanism on insertion head to protect for reject can
  • UV Inkjet of out feed cans
  • UV read of code
  • Presence detection of Widget on out feed

The Solution

The automated solution is based on two bespoke modules integrated to form a turnkey system.

The first module applies a two part adhesive to the widget, and the second module assembles the glued widget into the can. The minimum cycle requirement is to produce 250 cans per minute.

Adhesive Dispensing Module

Widgets are fed from bulk into a hopper for orientation and discharge onto a gravity feed system. The orientated parts are then be placed into a small carrier via a star wheel for transfer around the adhesive dispensing module.

The carriers travels on a Slat chain conveyor where they are directed into one of two lanes to collate into a twenty one part line. A buffer sensor speeds up and slows down the widget to carrier machine on demand.

To ensure no contamination prior to adhesive application, the adhesive application is best carried out immediately after plasma treatment. Our revised concept now combines the two processes into one unit. The Plasma treatment and adhesive application will be carried out by a servo driven seven head X-Y slide unit. This carries out three cycles to plasma treat and apply adhesive to twenty one parts in a single row of carriers.

Whilst the first line of twenty one carriers is being processed the other line is released to travel through the inspection station which looks for any dispensing rejects. A new line of twenty one 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 carrier re-joins the main line.

Included in the Adhesive Dispensing Module:

  • Base and Guards
  • Widget In feed
  • Widget transfer to Carrier
  • Plasma Treatment unit
  • Viscotec Adhesive Application
  • X-Y Slide Module
  • Vision inspection and reject Facility
  • 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 out-feed 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 fingers travel around they are turned through 180deg 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. They are merged by the aid of a scroll drive into the star wheel. Orientated widgets are then pushed into the can base by cam driven actuators during rotation of the table. Completed assemblies are out fed onto a Slat chain conveyor.

    Included in the Rotary Assembly Module:

  • Base Rotary module and Guards
  • Widget In feed and orientations
  • Can Inspection
  • Can Infeed
  • Widget Assembly Line
  • Can Out-feed
  • Can Inspection, Inkjet and Reject
  • APL Skills

    Machine building and integration, machine and process control, Poka Yoke in manufacturing, Assembly & Testing, Vision Inspection & Quality Control, Project management


    Can Widget Gluing and Assembly Line

    Can Widget Gluing and Assembly Line

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