Total Tooling Case Study
Victorian based company, Total Tooling has been servicing Australian and global manufacturing needs for over 30 years. The company has three factories employing over 80 people.
Total Tooling contacted Mobile Automation to develop a new automated solution for a manual process. The manual process slow and time consuming. It also posed a safety risk as there was a real danger that an operator could be burnt because of exposure to heating parts.
The manual process done by the operators was:
- The operator picked-up apart from a bin of raw stock – using vice grips
- While the operator clamped the part, they placed it in front of a flame to heat the part. (Often an operator didn’t heat the part to the right temperature)
- After heating the part, the operator ‘swirled’ it in a small tank of powder. This gave the part a nylon coating. Quality problems were common. Tight tolerances meant little room for error.
- Once the part was nylon coated, the operator held onto it to allow time for the part to cool. Once cooled, it was finally a finished product and placed into a bucket.
Total Tooling had already developed a design for a robot solution. The problem was that the design was still quite a linear process. So just like the manual process – one part was picked, heated, coated, replaced, before the next part could be started.
At Mobile Automation, we developed a parallel process. It had an immediate payoff because it reduced the overall completion time per part. The automated parallel process was:
- The first part was picked from the carousel, and placed on heat station No. 1
- A second part was then picked and placed on heat station No. 2
- Once the first part reached the right temperature – by means of a timing function in the robot controller – the part was taken off the heat station.
- The part was then dipped and swirled in the nylon coating (to the exact depth), and placed on a empty station on the carousel.
- A third part was then picked off the carousel, and placed on the empty heat station.
- The part placed on the second heat station was by then ready, and the process continued.
The robot solution instantly improved quality, reduced manufacturing time per part and improved operator safety.
The solution developed by Mobile Automation also had other benefits for Total Tooling. They were able to utilise the operator to perform multiple and more interesting jobs releasing them from being totally tied-down to a mundane and laborious task.