Carpets make a significant contribution towards achieving the quality look and quiet ambience we expect from our cars today. The preparation of these often overlooked components, prior to assembly within the vehicle, has become a sophisticated process, with a range of studs, fixings and quality checks required on each item. Carpet preparation systems from ATM ease the assembly operations required on these components, whilst ensuring quality and traceability on the final assembly line.
The carpets used in the cars which we drive today are more than just mere floor coverings; they have evolved to become somewhat of a technical product, usually overlooked except when we valet the car. They are not only formed to fit around the different areas of the floor-pan but also incorporate a number of features to assist with sound deadening and maintaining secure fitment at all times. Add to this the requirements for front, rear, left or right-hand drive plus different colour options, and it is clear that the preparation of these items has become relatively complex.
Because of the shape and size of these parts it is difficult to develop a fully automated system which would be cost effective; however, to ensure the high levels of consistency and quality required and improve operator ergonomics, a certain level of automation is still required. ATM has developed a series of semi-automated workstations which are used to monitor and validate each of the separate manual assembly tasks, whilst providing the operator with the ability to manipulate the fixtures and product with a minimum of effort.
These PLC-controlled workstations allow the user to select the product to be manufactured from an intuitive menu system. The operator will then load the carpet, which is automatically locked within the station, before the additional assembly tasks are performed. Each operation is monitored using a series of sensors, and items such as retaining clips are checked not only for presence but also for correct depth.
Powered screw drivers are monitored for number of cycles, and their integral friction clutch is used to validate that sufficient torque has been applied. At the end of the assembly process, which may require re-orientation of the counterbalanced fixturing, a bar code label is printed, applied and then scanned. The finished carpet is only released from the machine if all of the previous operations have been confirmed as being completed satisfactorily. The success of this type of semi-automated workstation has seen ATM deliver 10 systems which are used to produce carpet components for a number of Jaguar and Land Rover variants.
For further information about PLC-controlled semi-automated workstations from ATM such as those developed for carpet preparation systems please visit www.atmautomation.com.