Southeast

Axle Shafts Case Study

Featured Equipment:  
Industry:  Others
Machine Type / Process:  Robotic Automation
Challenge

Growing production demands drove the company to expand their North American manufacturing capacities for axles and axle shafts in large mining trucks. To meet these production demands and ensure a robust process for producing high-quality parts, they had to expand their operations and improve their existing manufacturing cell and process. The key goals were to increase capacity, improve uptime and performance, while delivering a safe and ergonomic work environment for their operators.

Assessment

The existing facility and manufacturing cell for the axle shafts were developed and integrated more than fifteen years ago. They were using outdated technology and automation equipment that was under-sized and resulted in many inefficiencies. An increase in production demands and the addition of new shaft products exceeded the capabilities of the existing axle shaft manufacturing cell. Years of running production on the existing manufacturing cell identified a number of inefficiencies, design flaws in the equipment and in the process, as well as increased the cost of manufacturing axle shafts.

Solution

The experienced team of Ellison Technologies Automation engineers team developed a manufacturing process that consisted of a raw shaft, each weighing no more than 800 lbs., being transferred into the automation process via an inbound conveyor, capable of holding up to 16 shafts. The FANUC Robotics M900iA/600 robot then transports the shaft through the lathe horizontally before traveling to the part marker, spline roller and hardener. The automated process is complete once the robot transfers the axle shaft through the temperature furnace, straightener, buffer, and finally to the queuing rack where it will be placed in an outbound cooling conveyor system.

End Result

In summary, the robotic automation cell that Ellison Technologies Automation designed helped to increase production and create an efficient process for producing high-quality goods. The safe and ergonomic work flow demands were met with improving the uptime of the process as well as improving upon the previous methods.

Before:

Outdated technology
Inefficient production
Increased cost

 
After:

State-of-the-art automation
Safe and ergonomic process
Increased uptime