Often we find that the incorporation of manual assembly steps can be a good option for an assembly operation. Sometimes the payback wouldn’t exist by full automation, or other times it would be a very complex task for a machine. Either way, manual assembly may be a necessary part of your product build, but it doesn’t need to be inefficient or unsafe in the process.
Glide-Line’s Zero Contact Zoned Conveyor solves efficiency and safety concerns in an elegant way by removing the traditional pop-up product stops. Eliminating these pinch points where operators can pinch hands or fingers eliminates one of the higher risks of manual assembly. Here’s how the Zero Contact Zoned Conveyor improves efficiency and reduces risk in manual assembly operations.
Indexing Solves Safety Concerns
Indexing, the process of moving product from one predetermined position to another in order to complete a series of operations, consists of moving a work-piece pallet from station to station to complete the assembly process. This is typically done on a conveyor by keeping the belt or chain moving and popping up stops, which the pallet runs into, and which creates pinch points wherever stops are on the system. Instead, using our Zero Contact Zoned Conveyors, this process can be done by turning on the conveyor to begin indexing, and then turning it off when the workpiece pallet reaches its predetermined location.
Automating the stop function through indexing removes the need to manually stop pallets or, worse, continue to let the conveyor run under products while manually completing operations (an inefficient use of energy).
Efficient Stopping Makes Better Use of Energy
The Zero Contact Zoned Conveyor avoids the use of hard stops (except in areas where precise location is needed which is not usually an area attended by operators, and we have controlled deceleration in these areas). Instead, we go with a more elegant approach. Each zone uses a sensor. When a pallet enters a zone, the sensor is triggered, which tells the conveyor to stop immediately and the zoned conveyor’s dedicated DC motor shuts off. The separately-zoned conveyor and product gradually decelerates until it makes the stop.
Efficiently using energy in this way prevents the conveyor from continually running under product that is not moving (such as during accumulation). It also prevents issues with product damage thanks to the smooth acceleration and deceleration within the various steps of the assembly process. Additionally, this can be controlled manually, so if your process needs a manual operator’s touch, you still receive the benefit of controlled deceleration while coming to a stop.
It’s easy to see why the Zero Contact Zoned Conveyor can benefit your manual assembly operations from both a safety and efficiency standpoint. Learn more today in our ebook, How to Manage Conveyor Accumulation Issues, and discover why this conveyor might be the right fit for your process.