Automation modules offer faster payback times

As one of Europe's leading manufacturers of indexing systems and automation components, WEISS is offering a complete and complementary range of assembly automation modules. By integrating two or more of these modules, fast and flexible assembly systems can be developed, as demonstrated by the combination of two of the most flexible WEISS products, the HP140 programmable pick-and-place unit and the LS280 high-speed linear transfer system - which are described by WEISS as 'Perfect Partners in Automation.'

Historically assembly automation systems have been designed and built to manufacture a single component variant, especially if the production volumes were relatively high. However, the need to reduce capital expenditure, shorten payback times and improve ROI means that it can be more difficult to justify an assembly system for a single component variant. In addition, the traditional concept of a rotary indexing machine for assembly operations can often limit opportunities to produce additional variants due to fixed indexing pitches and limited space. By combining the programmable flexibility of the WEISS HP140 pick-and-place unit with the multi-pitch flexibility of the LS280 linear indexing system, a fast and highly flexible assembly system can be configured. This will enable the manufacture of multiple product variants and will also have the capability to deal with differing process times.

Linear motors

Driven by highly dynamic linear motors, the HP140 is fast even when operating under load. With acceleration of 40m/s2 and speeds of 4.0m/s, fast cycle times are easily achieved. The typical cycle time for a pick-and-place operation, carrying a 1.0kg payload and with vertical stroke of 40mm and a horizontal stroke of 120mm, is an impressive 0.64s.

Making up the other half of this partnership is the WEISS LS280 high-speed linear transfer system. The LS280 comprises assembly modules that use indexing scrolls to transport work carriers through the system. Capable of up to 60 smooth indexing cycles per minute, the performance of the LS280 exceeds that of traditional linear indexing systems, which reach their limits at around 20 cycles per minute. The LS280 concept also allows several work carriers to be indexed through the system at the same time. With four different precision indexing pitches available - 70mm, 140mm, 280mm and 560mm - the system can accommodate different assembly or process times without compromising the overall machine cycle time and output.

For example, simple part transfer or assembly operations can be performed with the work carriers indexing through a single HP140 pick-and-place station on a 70mm pitch, working on one assembly at a time, and achieving a 1.0s cycle time. For more complex assembly operations or process operations, the work carriers can be indexed at a greater pitch through multi-tooled stations. These stations, with multiple HP140 units, can be used to process perhaps two or four parts for each index, thereby providing a greater time to perform the required operation but still achieving the overall output of 1.0s for each individual part.

Multiple assembly variants

This same combination of pitch options can also be used to enable the system to process more than one part variant. For example, a work carrier with four component location positions would use two of these locations for part type A and the remaining two for part type B. With a 140mm pitch and multiple HP140 pick-and-place units, the system can be used to manufacture two different part variants without the need for tooling or gripper changes. By combining the programmable flexibility of the HP140 with the multiple pitch capability of the LS280, WEISS can demonstrate that it is possible to configure a high-speed, high-precision assembly system that will handle differing assembly or process times and multiple part variants.

Designed for maintenance-free three-shift operation, the LS280 has a combination of hardened and ground bearing tracks and a fully integrated central lubrication system. With a minimum of moving parts, built-in overload protection and no seals or shock absorbers to wear out, the HP140 is robust and reliable in high-speed assembly applications. WEISS also offers an automatic greasing function for the HP140, which makes the unit maintenance-free over its lifespan.

DVDs are available on the LS280 high-speed linear transfer system and the HP140 programmable pick-and-place unit. To obtain copies or request further information on the full range of WEISS products, telephone +44(0)1952 240 953, email or visit


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