Configurable Components Aid Manufacturing Equipment Design

AISIN U.S.A. Manufacturing, Inc., Seymour, Ind., has been manufacturing products for North America’s light and medium-duty automotive market since 1988. A subsidiary of Aisin Seiki in Japan, the firm supplies products to OEMs such as Toyota, Honda, GM, Cummins, Nissan, and Mitsubishi. The company’s components, systems, and assemblies are used in automobile doorframes, latching systems, seating, trim moldings, and more.

AISIN also designs and produces some of its own manufacturing equipment internally. The team of experienced design and manufacturing engineers work to develop and modify production machines and jigs in manufacturing operations and in the systems and assemblies it delivers to customers.

Eric Peery, section manager, Kaizen Engineering, explains the group’s holistic approach: “In performing our analysis, we follow a ‘part-out’ design philosophy in which we begin with the product being made on the line, and work outward from there. This product and customer-centric approach helps keep us focused on the actual manufacturing process. Our goal is to tailor each machine precisely to our existing production processes, rather than force the process into a machine it’s not really suited to.”

Machine built around Misumi Actuator

This machine, built around a MISUMI LX actuator, positions mini-van side door roller components for assembly. Other components sourced from MISUMI include configurable plates, slide stoppers, precision posts and fasteners.

To save engineering and production costs and speed up its machine building activities, the engineering team has adopted a strategy of replacing custom-made parts wherever possible with configurable components from a reliable partner. After hearing about MISUMI from its parent company and other machine builders, the engineers decided to standardize on several configurable assembly fixture-locating pins found in the MISUMI catalog, instead of producing the parts internally. The experiment proved successful – the engineers were able to reduce the quantity of spare parts inventory and the cost of purchasing and storing a large supply of automotive locating pins.

Today, the group specifies configurable mechanical components in virtually every piece of manufacturing machinery it creates. These parts range from fasteners and stoppers to linear motion guides, machined blocks and plates, locating devices, rotary shafts, gears and sprockets, bushings, couplers and LX Series linear actuators.

For example, one particular machine design called tor two larger (400 mm+) machined plates and ten smaller (50 mm-200 mm) machined plates, plus an assortment of L- and T-shaped brackets to mount various components. A cost analysis showed that configuring the MISUMI metal plates to the company’s precise specifications, without additional machining required, saved over $1,800 on the project, which was approximately 4% of the total project cost.

For another piece of equipment, the group compared the cost and performance of a configurable LX Series actuator coupled with an Omron servomotor against an “all-in-one” linear actuator they had been sourcing from another major supplier. The cost for the dual-component system was actually $90 higher, but the MISUMI/Omron combination actuator offered ten times the precision and twice the speed. Plus, delivery time dropped from 6 weeks to 8 days.

Peery notes: “Configurable components and the online configuration and design support tools have shortened our design engineering time, while allowing us to configure components tailored to our exact specifications more cost-effectively than we could make them ourselves.” He cited some additional advantages to purchasing standardized configured components versus making custom parts.

Robotic Greese Application Machine

This robotic grease application machine uses MISUMI configurable plates, locating pins, support posts, and hinge bases.

These include:

-The ability to design and configure a part using MISUMI’s Configurator, and then quickly downloading the native CAD file into their SolidWorks CAD software application.

-The convenience of ordering–and reordering–machine components using a purchased part number, instead of working up a custom design requiring new specifications and engineering drawings every time.

-A significant amount of time saved in the design-engineering phase, plus actual cost savings per component, and shorter time to the machine build, thanks to fast response and rapid delivery times. entertainment systems.

Misumi USA Inc.

::Design World::