Thanks to a newly installed conveyor system, it's helped maximize production efficiency of its Counter Electric soft drink dispenser - and doing so in a cost-effective manner. The simple-but-effective system integrates live roller conveyors, zero pressure accumulation conveyors, spool transfers, a belt conveyor, and a chain-transfer segment into one streamlined flow. But perhaps the real key is the built-in EZ Logic capability, which effectively controls the flow of product throughout the facility.
The company is a world leader in the manufacture of beverage dispensing equipment and systems. The company's plant serves a truly global market. The dispensing equipment made here is shipped not only throughout North America, but also to Latin America, Europe, and Asia. To serve the demands of their global customer base, the company needs a manufacturing system that is flexible, responsive, and highly efficient. The new system delivers on all counts.
"The new installation has already given us a number of important benefits," says the facility's director of operations. "It has reduced product handling and increased throughput. And at the same time, it's given us added control over product flow."
The new conveyor system was designed to be simple, flexible, and productive. It is the product of close teamwork between the plant and the Hytrol Integration Partner.
The basic design incorporates two U-shaped conveyor segments-one for assembly of the refrigeration decks, the other for the lower housing assembly. The design is compact and efficient, giving employees ample workspace. It allows for unimpeded communication while affording ready access to the materials needed for product assembly. The primary conveyor in these assembly areas is a zero pressure accumulation type (Model 190-SPEZ).
By leveraging the capabilities of EZ Logic, the Hytrol Integration Partner was able to engineer great flexibility into the system. Both the refrigeration deck and the lower housing lines incorporate a series of five-feet work segments. This innovative approach allows management to start and stop the lines in pre-determined time periods based on customer needs or other production requirements. The conveyor system in effect becomes an integral part of the flexible manufacturing process.
When the units are ready to move from one zone to another, a warning alarm sounds. This tells the workers on the assembly lines that in 30 seconds the conveyor will start up again. There's also a set of lights (much like traffic lights, with green indicating go) that visually guides them. If a worker needs more time to finish a particular task, he or she can override the system. The conveyor line will not start up again until the worker has finished the task. This helps ensure that quality workmanship remains a top priority.
The EZ Logic feature, which controls accumulation and movement from zone to zone, allows the plant to bypass certain work areas if no assembly work is required. This further enhances flexibility while increasing productivity. "EZ Logic was really an essential capability," says the manager, who helped design the installation. "We could not have built this system without it."
The lower housing assembly area also has several testing stations off the main line. Pop-up transfers move the units off the main line and onto gravity lines and ball transfer tables, where the testing is done. Once completed, the units are easily transferred back to the main line.
The refrigeration decks and the lower housing units seamlessly merge at a pneumatic ball table just before the final assembly line. At that point the two units are "married" into a beverage-dispensing machine. From here, the units are transported on a live roller accumulating conveyor (190-ABEZ) where the final assembly operations take place.
At the end of the line the completed machines are positioned onto a belt conveyor, which indexes them through a banding station. The dispensing machines then move onto gravity conveyors where they await palletization and transport to the shipping area.
In short, the new conveyor system moves product through the 45,000 square feet facility smoothly and efficiently. It's helping the company keep pace with current worldwide demand for its beverage dispensers. And more importantly, the system is positioning the company to support even higher levels of growth in the future.
The 45,000 square feet facility has two U-shaped assembly lines-one for the refrigeration decks, the other for the lower housing. Live roller accumulating conveyors with EZ Logic are used here. When the units are ready to move from zone to zone, a warning alarm sounds, telling workers that the line will re-start in 30 seconds. The refrigeration decks and the lower housing units merge just before the final assembly line. After they are "married," the beverage-dispensing machines move to a live roller conveyor where the final assembly operations take place. The completed machines then move onto a belt conveyor, which indexes them through a banding station. They are then palletized for transport to the shipping area.