With the power tool market surging, and consumer demand growing for better, faster, and cheaper power tools, one power tool manufacturer needed a dynamic solution for product assembly. They turned to Bright Machines’ software-defined automation in order to meet this growing demand quickly, competently, and cost effectively.
With increasing popularity for the D.I.Y. trend, a global rise in discretionary income, and a growing fondness for all things “cordless,” a prominent power tool manufacturer was facing increasing pressure to deliver cutting-edge products to consumers. As products became increasingly more complex and technologically advanced, so did the complexity of their manufacture.
Brushless DC motors, which provide the energy efficiency needed for today’s battery-driven, cordless power tools, have made motor control circuit boards a staple component across power-tool types. Processes like mounting the motor control circuit board required tedious steps by human hands, such as applying sealant to the back of the circuit board and then welding it to the circuit mount.
An entirely manual process, the power tool manufacturer required four employees to perform these two repetitive steps – applying the sealant and welding the motor control board on its housing – at a rate of 437 units per hour. At this rate, such an operation supported the manufacturing of 1.7 million power tools in one year. Not bad, but with market projections topping $38 billion in sales by 2025, not quite big enough.
The manufacturer selected Bright Machines Microfactories to bring better guts to new tools, and help bring even more product to-market. Microfactories, made up of flexible modular hardware components that are easily configured by our intelligent software, are able to handle many of the essential tasks in power-tool assembly required by this manufacturer. These tasks include:
When it comes to the previously manual motor control circuit board mounting process, the microfactory handles all the key steps: the dispensing of sealant onto the back of the board; picking up the board and placing it properly in the mount; and then welding the pieces together.
With a microfactory deployed, this manufacturer can create an entirely automated, and virtually touchless assembly line.
With a microfactory at the helm, the power tool manufacturer is able to produce 510 units per hour, equating to a 17% gain in throughput compared to the previous 437 units produced by the four-person team noted earlier. Even more compelling are the dramatic cost savings. Demonstrating an impressive economy of scale, the new automated solution results in a 72% cost reduction, with per unit costs dipping with each subsequent shift added. For example, a microfactory produces sub-assemblies at $.16 per unit vs. the $.18 of the four-person team which is an 11% savings – a number that continues to get better with each shift resulting in 72% lower cost per unit when running three shifts with a microfactory.
In addition, machine learning provides a watchful eye over the entire assembly process, ensuring quality and reducing downtime waste.
This power tool manufacturer is proving that it is possible to keep up with the demands in the market. With flexible hardware and intelligent software guiding your line, efficient assembly of today’s most advanced power tools has never been easier.
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Contact us to find out how Bright Machines Microfactories can increase throughput, improve quality and lower cost in your factory.