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SDC relies on Meca500 robots to increase throughput by 500%

SDC, an engineering company that specializes in designing and building custom machinery used for factory automation, integrated several Meca500 robot arms into a machine that automates medical device manufacturing. The machine was custom-built for a client who produces endoscopes. The client needed an automation solution to increase production throughput and improve precision. SDC integrated the robots into an automation solution that increased throughput by 500% and improved the consistency of product quality. The use of Meca500 robots also lowered training costs, cut programming time, and minimized the use of factory space.

Challenge

A customer of SDC required small and precise robots to automate several processes in manufacturing endoscopy scopes. The client was looking for an automation solution to increase precision and throughput of their medical device equipment manufacturing process. The goal was to find a flexible solution to accommodate multiple tool orientations, maximize production, and offer easy integration.

Prior to integrating the Meca500, the client employed human operators to manually perform repetitive manufacturing tasks. Extensive training was required to ensure individual workers reached the necessary level of expertise for each task. Additionally, the tasks required extremely steady hands. It was challenging finding enough employees capable of working with such tiny components and completing the process with such precision. Throughput was limited.

Solution

SDC incorporated the Meca500 to precisely mix and apply a proprietary blend of epoxy on critical areas of the medical devices. A vast array of microscopic vision inspection systems were integrated with the Meca500.

In this custom-made automation machine, several Meca500 robots perform different indexing tasks using vision-based guidance. These tasks include loading carriers, affixing carriers to imagers, precision-placement of lenses, and applying adhesives to lens/carrier interfaces.

One of the Meca500 robots is equipped with a tool changer and performs several of the following operations: it applies adhesive with one tool and picks a wiping implement with another, using vision guidance to precisely position the tool. Another Meca500 has a micro piezo electric slide mounted to it, which is controlled by the customer’s proprietary Matlab program to optimize the assembly process.

Results

500% increase in production throughput

Prior to using Meca500 robots, the client’s manual assembly and part preparation processes produced a yield of about 4 parts per shift. Due to Meca500 robots, SDC’s machine increased production to 20 parts per shift. The machine eliminated human inefficiencies in the manual process and increased throughput by 500%.

Higher consistency in product quality

With the Meca500 robots’ 5 micrometers of repeatability, the customer was able to replicate consistent high-quality processes from part to part.

Lower training costs and simple programming

Once the customer began using SDC’s solution with integrated Meca500 robots, the customer was able to eliminate the extensive training required to perform high-precision tasks. Additionally, SDC was able to easily integrate the robot into the machine. Since the robot does not require learning a proprietary programming language, and programming was quick and simple.

Optimized factory space

SDC needed a small robot to accommodate the customer’s tiny product parts, and small tooling required to achieve precise positioning. The Meca500 robot’s small size and built-in controller took up less space than with manual or other automation solutions while producing more throughput. SDC was able to develop a compact machine to complete all manufacturing processes.

About SDC

SDC is an Ohio-based machine-builder that engineers, designs, and builds creative and innovative systems to solve complex automation problems. SDC uses Meca500 robots in some of their solutions to optimize manufacturing processes and minimize production costs. They serve a variety of industries including medical devices, pharmaceutical, automotive, and aerospace. To learn more about SDC, visit their website. SDC was introduced to Mecademic by GS Automate, an Ohio-based distributor.




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