Precise pneumatics aid automated assembly

By Jim Montague, Executive Editor

 

How do you make millions of tiny cell phone speakers, microphones and receivers? Very carefully, and very quickly. So, either you’ll need a multitude of hands, or a few really good machines.

In the past, smaller volumes required dozens of people to manually build and check these telecom components, including the even tinier membranes and copper-wire-wound electromagnets inside them. However, Phillips Semiconductors and its former NXP Sound Solutions division in Vienna, Austria, found a couple years ago that manual assembly couldn’t keep up with surging worldwide demand and Asia’s low-cost labor.

For example, NXP previously used 78 operators to make five million speakers per year, but since has estimated it would need to employ 630 operators to produce 40 million units annually. The company calculates that it now needs a 0.6 sec cycle time to produce a speaker or receiver every 1.2 seconds on a 24/7 basis for at least 350 days per year to meet anticipated worldwide demand. Besides producing in high volumes, this system also needed flexible on/off and fast ramp-up capabilities for customized products in smaller batches.

 

     CAN YOU HEAR ME?
  Mikron's G05 Assembly Cell
 

Mikron’s G05 assembly cell provides a 100 parts per minute cycle time in NXP Sound Solution’s cell phone speaker assembly facility in Vienna.

To develop its now-automated production system, NXP turned to Mikron Assembly Technology, Boudry, Switzerland, and Festo AG in Esslingen, Germany. NXP recently installed Mikron’s G05 assembly cells, which have a 100 parts/min cycle time. Mikron in turn uses Festo’s CPV valve terminals and other pneumatic components for many of G05’s motion-control tasks, which include winding hair-thin copper wires onto spools for the magnets, gluing the coils onto membranes, and putting the speakers together.

Phillips, NXP, Mikron, and Festo reported on their ongoing assembly project during a December press tour at Phillips and NXP’s manufacturing campus in Vienna.

This facility now uses several G05 cells and 20 operators to make 72,000 8-mm Pico speakers per 12-hour shift. Automation also allows NXP to devote more manual labor to R&D, pre-development, specification conformance, pre-assembly, and sample production. In short, this means developing and perfecting automation so it can duplicate motions previously performed by humans. 

Rolf Rihs, Mikron’s COO, reports that G05 is built using standard modules and units, and that it consists of a linear assembly cell that includes automatic and semi-automatic workstations, an assembly center, and feed systems that include poly-feed and palletizing devices. Though its core version was introduced in the U.S. in 2004, G05’s overall platform and accessories still are being developed.

“Besides reducing maintenance, G05’s standardized pneumatics and other parts have helped us cut our own delivery time in half to four to seven months, achieve quick reconfiguration and reusability of 60% of our components, and maintain our 100 cycle/min time,” says Rihs. Cam-driven, the G05 uses 12-18 pneumatic cylinders. Each CPV valve terminal can execute four functions on Mikron’s machines, including on/off and steering motions. Mikron requires its pneumatics to last for 50 million cycles.

Rihs adds that G05 replaced Mikron’s former Flex Cell platform, which performed many of the same tasks, but was slower, less modular, and less standardized. “We came to the limits of our old platform,” he says. “It wasn’t as modular, so we couldn’t exchange components as easily. Our users, especially NXP, need this modularity to shorten lead times and reduce time to market.

“For example, a traditional, round assembly table has 12-32 stations, but if a product’s specifications change, then you’ll need a new machine. G05’s modules can be shifted in and out easily when a product changes, which also makes reconfiguration easier.”

NXP’s production system using Mikron’s G05 has been so successful that it recently was shipped to its production facility in Beijing to serve its many Asia-based customers. The company adds that the flexibility and modularity of its system was further demonstrated by this project’s fast transfer time. NXP was able to dismantle and package its Mikron machines and the systems other components, fly them to China, and set up and start its system there in just 12 days.

Most recently, NXP has been working to automate its three lines for small, rectangular RA receivers and speakers using Mikron’s PAL standalone assembly robot. Besides using Festo’s pneumatic valves, this Mikron system includes a Keyence vision system and Siemens’ Simatic operator interface panel. This two-month-old machine is being built and installed at NXP by Fa. Manousek, a Vienna-based machine builder.

More News:

  • IDS Is Among the First Vision Manufacturers to Introduce USB 3.0 Camera With Sony IMX174

    Equipped with image sensors, this new IDS camera model delivers outstanding imaging performance previously unattainable by CMOS-based cameras in terms of high sensitivity, high dynamic range, low fixed pattern noise, and highly accurate color reproduction.

  • China Adopts EtherCAT as a National Technology Standard

    Chinese company representatives shared experiences about their numerous EtherCAT systems and applications with the audience and explained the benefits realized through implementation.

  • HART-Fieldbus Foundation Marriage Complete

    The final step in constructing a single organization to lead process automation communications and integration technologies was completed at the end of August when the members of both the HART Communication Foundation and Fieldbus Foundation approved the merger proposed by their respective boards.

  • Use of BYOD Spreads, But Holdouts Remain

    Manufacturing workers are jumping on the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) bandwagon,

  • ISA100 Wireless Standard Gains Final IEC Approval

    ANSI/ISA-100.11a-2011, "Wireless Systems for Industrial Automation: Process Control and Related Applications," has been unanimously approved by the IEC as an international standard

  • Mergers, Acquisitions & Alliances: Danfoss Makes Offer, Hardinge Acquires Assets, and Fanuc and Rockwell Collaborate

    Danfoss made a public tender offer for all shares of the Finnish ac drives company Vacon. Hardinge, international provider of advanced metal-cutting solutions, agreed to acquire the assets of the Voumard internal diameter (ID) grinding business from Peter Wolters GmbH in Rendsburg, Germany. Maverick Technologies, acquired CQS Innovation, a system integrator specializing in control and information systems for life sciences, chemical and metals industries.

  • Belden Advocates Ethernet, Security and Wireless

    The Internet of Things (IoT) and the industrial IoT will use increasingly intelligent network infrastructures, but this will create more risk and increase the need to protect those critical infrastructures and their data. That's why we're investing both organically and through acquisition in Ethernet, security and wireless—so we can help transform this interconnected world.

  • The Future Is Forged at IMTS 2014

    Front and center was large-scale additive manufacturing in the form of the world's first 3D-printed car, which was printed and assembled on-site at the show. The project was a cooperative effort by Local Motors, Cincinnati Inc.; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; the University of Tennessee; and IMTS' Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT).

  • Big Manufacturing Trade-Shows Dominate November Calendar

    There Will be More than 100 Exhibits Featuring Products and Services from Rockwell Automation and its Network of more than 100 Partners.

  • Honeywell OneWireless Takes the Prize for Best Wireless Solution

    The OneWireless Network is designed to enhance efficiency, safety and reliability in business processes. The OneWireless Network offers flexibility and scalability, wire-like performance with wireless security and best-in-class data availability with a low cost of ownership.

All news »

What are your comments?

Join the discussion today. Login Here.

Comments

No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments