Author Archives: sachin

  1. Power Consumption of Automated Assembly Machines and Systems

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    Automated assembly machines can consume a great deal of power. In fact, many rely on notoriously expensive compressed air, which is required for many of the repetitive movements that keep the assembly line moving. Undetected or unresolved leaks in compressed air systems can increase power consumption substantially. Finding and repairing leaks is important to reducing the power consumption of automated assembly machines. 

    Why Compressed Air Costs So Much

    While consumers often buy compressed air in cans to safely clean electronics, manufacturing facilities need much, much more of this resource, so they use compressors to create it themselves. Though it may seem as if compressed air would be an affordable resource since it is being created onsite, this is not at all the case. The fact is that compressed air is one of the most expensive resources to produce. A case study by Quincy Compressor has shown that roughly 50% of all the compressed air produced by manufacturers is wasted, and this is a costly inefficiency. 

    Do You Have Leaks in Your Air Lines?

    Compressed air is a critical resource in almost every manufacturing facility across the country, and more than 70% of those facilities have a compressed air system in place. This resource powers numerous forms of equipment, but in most cases, automated assembly machines consume the most compressed air. Unfortunately, many of these facilities are using far more compressed air than is necessary due to almost unnoticeable leaks. Whether there is one leak or hundreds of leaks, it drives up cost. 

    How Much Can Fixing Leaks Save?

    Fixing the leaks in your compressed air system is critical to reducing energy costs. For example, if you have several leaks across your system, your compressor may be running at 75% capacity or more. This increases your energy consumption a great deal, and you may even be paying hundreds of dollars each month due to this inefficiency. Fixing the leaks in your compressed air system is an important step to improving your efficiency. In some cases, facilities have reduced the 75% capacity down to 50% or less. That 25% is equal to thousands of dollars each year in energy savings. 

    The Importance of Selecting Efficient Equipment from the Start 

    Another important way to ensure that your compressed air system is as efficient as possible involves choosing the most efficient automated assembly machinery available. Just as there are machines that are more energy-efficient in terms of electricity, there are also machines that use compressed air more efficiently, thereby reducing the costs associated with producing that compressed air substantially. When a facility’s equipment is more efficient, that facility can operate its compressors at a lower capacity and save hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars. 

    Compressed air is an expensive, but absolutely critical resource in the manufacturing industry, and 99% of manufacturing facilities rely on it to a degree. To improve your facility’s efficiency and reduce your energy consumption, it is important to fix leaks in your compressed air system and choose the most energy efficient automated assembly machinery available to you.

  2. Aurora Bearing Company: $4,500 Saved Through Leak Repair!

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    Aurora Bearing Company had a large number of leaks in their compressed air system that added up to thousands of extra dollars on their energy bill. Fluid-Aire Dynamics fixed 150 leaks, resulting in a reduction of 64,660 kWh and energy savings of more than $4,500 annually. Thanks to an energy incentive program offered through ComEd, the cost to Aurora Bearing was $0.

    “I appreciate the opportunity to work with Fluid-Aire Dynamics. Their team was very knowledgeable and professional and completed the work efficiently. They did a phenomenal job for us.”
    – Oscar Fletes, Plant Superintendent, Aurora Bearing Company

    Challenge: Aging Pipes with Lots of Leaks

    Aurora Bearing produces precision rod end bearings and spherical bearings for the aerospace, military and industrial markets. Their plant in Montgomery, Illinois houses hundreds of CNC machines and other specialized equipment, nearly all running on compressed air. The compressed air system is powered by two 125 HP compressors which are run on an alternating basis so they always have full backup. Prior to the leak repair project, the compressors typically ran at around 75% capacity during normal operations. 

    Their piping system is more than 12 years old. Oscar Fletes, the Plant Supervisor for Aurora Bearing, knew that their compressed air system had numerous leaks; his maintenance team had identified more than 80. They were fixing leaks as they had time and as they became a noticeable nuisance to operators.

    When Oscar received an email from Fluid-Aire offering to fix his leaks for free, at first he thought it was too good to be true. After checking with his energy provider, ComEd, to verify that the program was legitimate, he called Fluid-Aire to schedule a leak repair appointment.

    The Fluid-Aire Solution: The Fix-It-Now Leak Repair Program

    The Fluid-Aire Dynamics Fix-It-Now program provides compressed air system leak repair at no cost to manufacturers with air compressors of 25 HP or larger. It is part of an energy incentive program offered to ComEd customers. ComEd covers the cost of compressed air system leak repair up to $120 per leak to improve energy efficiency and reduce the overall load on the grid.

    Fluid-Aire’s qualified technicians performed a comprehensive diagnostic, using specialized equipment to find even small leaks not detectable to human senses. They found 150 leaks in need of repair throughout the 200,000 ft2 facility. It took nearly two weeks to get them all fixed. 

    Oscar says, “They were very professional and respectful while they were here. If an operator was running a machine, they stayed away so they wouldn’t interrupt our production processes. It probably took them a little longer to get done because they didn’t want to be intrusive. I’m very pleased with how they went about their business.” Relying on Fluid-Aire to fix the leaks also reduced the maintenance burden on Oscar’s own staff, so they can stay focused on the production equipment and daily standard compressor maintenance. 

    Fluid-Aire Dynamics took care of all of the paperwork to make sure that Aurora Bearing would be covered under the ComEd program. At the end of the project, ComEd was billed for the work.

    Results: Better Compressor Performance and Thousands in Energy Savings 

    After the leaks were repaired, Oscar noticed an immediate difference in air compressor performance. Rather than operating at 75% capacity, the compressors now rarely run at more than 50% capacity. This vastly reduces the strain on the compressors and wear and tear on system components. Oscar says, “We maintain these compressors every day, because we rely on compressed air just like we rely on electricity. They are already 12 years old, and I am hoping that by reducing the workload on them we can extend their life.” Fluid-Aire’s analysis shows that overall system load has been reduced by 117 CFM or 29.25 HP. 

    Oscar is also enthusiastic about the energy savings. The reduction in CFM adds up to an overall reduction in energy use of 64,660 kWh per year. At their current rate of $0.07 per kWh, that’s a savings of more than $4,500 annually

    Oscar highly recommends the Fluid-Aire Fix-It-Now program to other manufacturers with aging compressed air systems. “It’s a real benefit in the long run when you don’t have to waste compressed air, and it makes a world of difference in how the compressors work. If you have a compressed air system, it makes sense to have someone who knows what they are doing take a look at the system and fix all the leaks—especially when it’s free!”

    Just the Facts:

    Leaks repaired: 150
    Load reduction: 117 CFM (29.25 HP)
    Energy savings: 64,660 kWh/year
    Cost savings: $4,526/year
    Repair cost to customer: $0

  3. Here’s How COVID-19 Has Directly Impacted the Need for Assembly Automation

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    Factories have been a staple in the United States since the Industrial Revolution. For decades now, men and women have worked alongside one another to produce everything from the buttons on your favorite shirt to your smartphone. However, with the global COVID-19 pandemic comes the need for social distancing, and that has had an impact on assembly. In fact, it’s driving the need for assembly automation in a way that has never existed before.

    How COVID-19 Has Affected Workforce Sizes 

    According to guidelines from the CDC, social distancing is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of COVID-19. Their guidelines recommend a distance of at least six feet between individuals both indoors and out, and they also recommend limiting the number of people gathered in a confined area. As a result of this, manufacturing facilities must keep their employees spaced six feet apart, and this is having a negative effect on production rates. In other words, many facilities are running with half or even a third of their typical workforce size and they are reducing their output rates significantly to accommodate the lack of resources.

    Slower Production Means Slower Revenue

    Manufacturing is a competitive industry, and the best way for a company of any size to enjoy success is to manufacture as many products as possible as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality. With reduced workforces, this is virtually impossible. Shortages of non-essential products exist at a global level because supply simply cannot meet demand. Worse still, slower production means slower revenue. Companies cannot turn a profit if they cannot produce, and this is causing major problems for even some of the globe’s biggest brands.

    How Automation Comes into Play

    Fortunately, we live in a time where technology advances at a spectacular rate. Many jobs that would have required hands-on contact just a few years ago can now be completely automated. The debate regarding automation versus human interaction is a heated one, too. Some companies focus on keeping as many people as possible gainfully employed; still others focus on finding the best and most efficient ways to produce as many items or parts as possible. With COVID-19 a major factor in 2020, manufacturers on both sides of the debate are looking for ways to ramp up production with only a fraction of their workforce. This is why automation is so important.

    Automating Processes to Keep Up with Demand

    Many of the processes that occur in factories and manufacturing facilities can be automated. In fact, assembly automation is more precise, more efficient, and faster than even a full workforce. These machines are capable of producing parts more quickly than humans, and they are designed to do it with minimal maintenance and downtime. These machines cannot get sick, and they do not require time off. For these reasons, many companies have started automating many of their assembly processes – and they are enjoying a great deal of success, too. 

    COVID-19 has resulted in economic hardship for not only everyday consumers, but also businesses due to social distancing requirements. However, assembly automation is the perfect solution, and many facilities find that automating at least some processes allows them to keep up with demand and continue turning a profit.

  4. Robotics and High Speed Motion Control in the Danger Zone of COVID-19

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    The effects of COVID-19 are being felt all around the world. People are staying home more than ever before, and businesses are operating at a fraction of their typical capacity – if they are even operating at all. In the age of social distancing, robotics and high speed motion control are the true superheroes. Below, you can learn more about some of the roles they’re playing and the effects they’re having on the world.

    The Danger Zone

    COVID-19 is a highly contagious and unpredictable condition that is caused by the novel coronavirus. While some people who contract it may never even have a single symptom, others become incredibly sick for weeks on end. Some may find themselves in increasingly-crowded ICUs, and still others may not survive it. In order to slow the spread, the CDC and WHO alike have put social distancing guidelines in place. Essentially, these guidelines reduce the number of people who can be gathered in any one place and recommend maintaining a distance of at least six feet. 

    Because of these guidelines, restaurants around the world are operating at half capacity (or less), and even manufacturing facilities are feeling the pressure associated with a reduced workforce. These indoor areas where people gather to perform a job are considered the “danger zone” since they drastically increase the transmission rate for the novel coronavirus.

    How Robotics and High Speed Motion Control Help

    Social distancing guidelines have been in place since spring of 2020, and in this time, companies in every industry imaginable have managed to find unique ways to stay afloat. Just as restaurants are offering curbside pickup or even delivery to keep people safe, manufacturing facilities have started incorporating robotics and high speed motion control in an effort to automate their assembly processes. Whereas an assembly line may have employed 14 people prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, that same assembly line may only accommodate seven people safely today. It’s the addition of automation machinery – namely robotics – that keeps production going.

    Assembly automation is important for everyone in today’s day and age. Without it, manufacturing facilities would surely suffer, and some may not survive the economic downfall. What’s more, slower manufacturing can cause crises around the world. Imagine a pharmaceutical company unable to produce enough of a much-needed drug to meet demand, for example. Shortages of important products drive up costs, which makes the economic toll even worse. Manufacturers must find new and innovative ways to keep producing the things people use every day, and that’s why technology is the answer. Machines are not held to social distancing requirements, yet they can operate faster and more efficiently than people. 

    Robotics and high speed motion control have been around for decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world the true importance of this technology. In an effort to keep people safe while continuing to produce enough supply to meet demand, manufacturers in numerous industries have begun to rely on assembly automation technologies of all kinds.

  5. A 5-Minute Guide to Continuous Motion Assembly Hardware and Machine Components

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    Manufacturing is a highly competitive industry. In order to succeed, it’s critical for manufacturers to increase production rates without sacrificing the integrity or quality of the product. Continuous motion assembly machinery allows manufacturers to create dedicated parts or products over an extended period of time. Below, you can learn more about the hardware and components associated with this machinery.

    Understanding Continuous Motion Machinery

    A continuous motion machine allows a manufacturer to produce specific products over long periods of time. They offer incredible precision, a phenomenal output rate, better overall efficiency, and a smoother overall process that reduces the chance of component damage. Because the machine’s speed remains steady, there are no jerky stops and starts, which is important to consistency and quality. It’s also ideal for situations in which accuracy is a key factor since it provides consistent alignment. While continuous motion machinery is designed for producing a dedicated product, it can typically be adjusted to accommodate slight variations in that product.

    Things to Consider when Buying Machinery

    Manufacturers who are interested in automating some or all of their production have numerous continuous motion assembly machine options available to them. Some of the most important considerations for buying a machine include:

    • Size and Footprint – Size is an important consideration as it will ultimately determine the amount of equipment that can be safely housed on the production floor and assembly line. The size of the equipment can vary a great deal based on the type of product it produces, its production capacity, and even the number of components included. 
    • Parts Per Minute – Each machine is capable of making a certain number of parts per minute. The number of parts per minute will have a direct impact on overall output, so it’s important to consider it very carefully before making a buying decision.
    • Number of Components – Continuous motion assembly machines have multiple components, or pieces, that must be used together. The number of components varies a great deal. In some cases, machines that have multiple components offer a great deal of production flexibility. For example, manufacturers may be able to position certain components in a way that works best for their production floor needs.
    • Cycle Time – Cycle time is the time it takes the machine to create a single product. Like parts per minute, cycle time is important because it’s an indication of how many parts or products that machine can make during an average shift or workday.
    • Process Type – Continuous motion assembly machines are also capable of accommodating almost any process. These processes include things like assembly, dispensing, curing, printing, screwdriving, welding, functional testing, crimping, and more.

    Continuous motion assembly machines give manufacturers the ability to make quality parts and products quickly, consistently, and efficiently. By learning more about the benefits of these machines and their capabilities, manufacturers can make the right choices for their unique needs and build an assembly line that perfectly suits their products.