Advance's SmartLine™ Tote Conveyor provides an automotive customer with an ergonomic solution.
The Advance SmartLine™ Tote and Carton Conveyor is an innovative zero-line pressure system, which provides a modular and efficient solution. It is based on 24v DC drives with options of round and V belt drives to drive individual zones and provides cost-effective accumulation and control of cartons/totes for many end-of-line warehousing systems.
An automotive customer was after an ergonomic solution for their small car parts line, principally to reduce strain injuries in manual handling, as well as increasing overall productivity.
The customer manufactures parts that were shipped around the plant in plastic totes, loaded onto pallets. The totes were repeatedly lifted to and from the pallet during operations. To reduce handling and eliminate excessive lifting, a method of presenting the tote at an ergonomic height to the operator was required.
Due to its built-in flexibility, Advance recommended their SmartLine™ Tote Conveyors, adapted to provide the required user interface with the tote boxes.
Advance presented back a solution that was based on the following operator sequence:
- A tote full of car parts is loaded onto the U cell at one end of the line.
- The operator then selects the operations required for those parts on an HMI screen.
- The tote then progresses to the first required operation.
- Once it arrives in the required position, the tote lifts at one end thereby making the removal of products more ergonomic.
- Once the parts have been worked on, the operator presses a button to lower the tote and the tote moves to the next process.
The solution was approved and installed, providing a number of key operational and operator benefits.
Following the installation of the first system the second and third cells were ordered with some further ergonomic upgrades. These upgrades were:
- As well as tilting the totes for the operator they could now also be raised from the rollers to make picking easier for taller operators.
- The provision of bespoke work benches with electric lift columns. This meant that taller operators could raise the tooling to a more ergonomic height at the touch of a button.
The system really shows the unique selling point of Advance as an automation partner. By using our standard SmartLine tote conveyor and building on it with bespoke elements such as the angled tote lifts and height adjustable work benches, along with a bespoke control system and full installation service we can offer a unique, turnkey package.
The first system had already proven to be such a success with our customer, increasing efficiency, reducing part handling and presenting parts in a much more ergonomic way to the operators that 2 further systems have since been ordered and manufactured.
Shaun Graham, Sales Manager, Advance Automated Systems Ltd
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