North American factory making critical electronics component for a major, U.S. automotive company, increases units per hour and reduces defect rates by automating away human, manual error-plagued processes.
The assembly and inspection line used for the production of front and rear media hubs was manual and labor-intensive. Automotive media hubs provide an interface from a vehicle’s infotainment system to personal electronic devices like a phone. The process required eight human touch points, which limited units produced per hour and consistently resulted in high defect rates.
Components of these media hubs are very small and require tremendous accuracy to perform insertion without damaging the product. In the best case, those defects are caught in the inspection and the component is discarded, but on this line, it was also possible that defective product could make its way onto the car lot and eventually customer’s driveway, resulting in expensive warranty costs and, worse, lost trust between the car company and customer. Bright Machine’s customer needed a way to perform this critical assembly process with much lower risk of damaged product.
The automotive manufacturer replaced the assembly process with an automated, software-defined Bright Machines Microfactory to produce both front and rear media hubs. With customized automated interchangeable tooling, the flexible microfactory allowed assembly of both hubs on the line faster and with dramatically improved yield. The microfactory now completes assembly and inspection of two different models on the same line, thanks to lightning-fast change-over.
Software-defined manufacturing also solved for the trickier elements of the assembly. For this product, some of the insertion needed to happen at specific angles to avoid damaging components, and this level of specificity and precision is a specialty of the microfactory. While pick-and-place sounds like a simple task to automate, in reality, it requires precise rotation and positioning of the robot arms while also changing speeds from fast to slow. Programming the assembly recipes with Brightware™ ensures that the end-of-arm tools are hitting the right angles every time, at the right speed, and in a perfectly repeatable way.
This microfactory solved the issue of high defect rates, which were an ongoing financial drain for the manufacturer, while also increasing output of the media hubs. The microfactory effectively eliminates the need for human touches on the assembly and inspection line, further driving cost down while production and quality increase. The microfactory has resulted in meaningful changes to the line’s efficiency, including:
This implementation of a Bright Machines Microfactory has been up and running for nearly two years, and now the manufacturer has asked Bright Machines for deployment on additional lines, producing different products in the same family of automotive products. In these new implementations, Bright Machines has been able to simplify the lines and make some small tweaks to increase the speed of production and increase outputs, improving cost, performance and output in a scalable solution.
For more information, check out:
Contact us to find out how Bright Machines Microfactories can boost production and reduce defect rates in your factory.