Increasing competitiveness with dispensing robots

18 June 2012

Contract Electronics Manufacturer CT Production recently contacted Intertronics when they needed to expand their robotic capability for a low energy lighting product
Contract Electronics Manufacturer CT Production recently contacted Intertronics when they needed to expand their robotic capability for a low energy lighting product

Contract Electronics Manufacturer CT Production recently contacted Intertronics when they needed to expand their robotic capability for a low energy lighting product.

CT Production MD Alan Trevarton commented: “It is company strategy to compete with offshore manufacturing by lowering costs using robotics. Compared with manual operatives the benefits are greater flexibility, continuous working, reduced mess and clean-up, plus enhanced consistency and quality. In the highly competitive arena of small to medium production runs we see this as crucial to achieving positive outcomes for UK based manufacturers. Consequently, we were interested in the Fisnar F4200N for its mix of price, performance and flexibility which exactly met our criteria, backed up by a highly successful onsite demonstration with ex-stock supply from Intertronics that enabled us to get straight on with the job, with lower unit costs and improved quality straight away.”

CT Production is a contract electronics manufacturer with varying requirements and a variety of other robotic equipment. In this case, they needed a compatible unit to fit in with their flow line assembly. The F4200N offered exactly that as a compact and economically priced benchtop robot. Designed for manufacturing, medical and laboratory environments requiring a streamlined, robust and easily maintained machine, the F4200N is intended to support most light dispensing applications that require a high performance standard with considerable repetition.

At CT Production the F4200N is used for lighting products with end caps that need to be sealed. The machine enables controlled dispensing of customer specified RTV sealant in the right amount in the right place using a needle which dispenses a ‘gasket’ of sealant, building-up a couple of layers on the Z axis to achieve an internal tube within the cap. This has been found quicker than manual application while reducing errors and rejects. The F4200N handles a dispensing area of 200mm x 200mm x 50mm and is capable of storing up to 100 different programmes. This enables processing of a number of caps in a jig of 10 or so at a time.

Trevarton added: “Our view is that the F4200N is straightforward to programme, is reliable and effective and is good value for money. We have already identified other areas such as application of heat transfer adhesive to bond aluminium PCB substrates to heatsinks. It is also quicker than manual operations and we have set-up the process to fit in with adhesive setting times. This is a measurable factor in being price competitive with offshore manufacturing and so retaining work that would otherwise have gone overseas. The UK is becoming much more competitive with more people these days realising that they can produce in thousands in the UK rather than the very large quantities suited to the Far East. By use of machines such as the F4200N we are able to offer greater flexibility, lower carriage costs, shorter supply chain, shorter lead times and an ability to discuss products and requirements face to face – plus we can increase output quickly without an additional labour commitment.”

Intertronics’ product specialist David Peat described the F4200N. “It uses step-by-step intuitive instructions to simplify job creation tasks, allowing a programme to be entered and running in minutes. A 16-channel I/O interface provides for communication with external devices for secondary applications and multiple dispensing equipment components. We find that programming is simple with easy to follow English language instructions. Commands are followed and responses entered by a teach pendant. An LCD display prompts the user for a data input and once confirmed, automatically displays the next instruction. By this method a programme can be created quickly and simply.”


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