Case Summary:

Marine manufacturers are constantly seeking new ways to innovate watercraft designs and their methods of production. As the world progresses into a new technological epoch, many of these recreational boat manufacturers are seeking ways to incorporate automated reliability into their production lines. Recently, a leading recreational equipment manufacturer came to GP Reeves seeking a solution to empower their marine development with advanced dispensing. The company had been applying grease to their components with an inaccurate and unreliable hand-held syringe. This led to a messy application with minimal confirmation of proper material application.  To better support assembly, our team worked to configure a customized, turnkey, semi-automated dispensing system that allowed for a higher production capacity, increased product quality, and faster assembly efficiencies. With our sophisticated expertise and advanced customization abilities, GP Reeves was able to deliver a dispensing system that propelled the boat manufacturer and their innovative watercraft well ahead of competition.

The Problem: Unreliable Greasing

Before coming to GP Reeves, the manufacturer was applying dielectric grease by hand to the electrical connectors of marine wire harnesses. Operators were using a syringe to dispense grease, but because the process was fully manual – there was little to no reliability, accuracy, or confirmation of dispense. This was extremely worrisome since a proper application of dielectric grease meant the wire harnesses had a barrier from water erosion and external debris. With the lack of dependable confirmation, there was uncertainty regarding the existence of this water barrier. Additionally, the uncertainty that came from hand applying grease provoked a vulnerability on the business-side of the marine product. Since the boats are a significant investment, their quality had to meet the expectations of buyers. If a customer found that their new watercraft had faulty connections, the manufacturer may receive a poor reputation and their business could suffer. The manufacturer knew that they had to seek a better method of application, and they knew their best results would come from the team at GP Reeves.

The Challenge: Variety is The Spice of Life

GP Reeves has a multitude of experience in the fields of electronics, marine products, and automation, and this project allowed us to combine and utilize our expertise. The manufacturer desired a system that would quickly grease the electrical connectors of several different wire harness types. Each wire harness featured a different number of connectors and each connector was unique meaning a different nest would have to be created for every harness to ensure a proper application. In total, there were 31 connectors, each with an average of 8 receptors, also known as openings, requiring grease. It was especially important that connector received an adequate dielectric grease dispense since the wire harness is what forms the continuous electric signal to the boat’s main power circuits. Without confident verification of a quality material delivery, the electro-mechanical operations of the boat were at risk.

Along with the variety of wire harness types and the considerations of each, the manufacturer hoped to assemble their connectors at quicker pace. GP Reeves had to meticulously develop a system that met customer expectations and was able to distribute the dielectric grease efficiently, reliably, and repeatedly to the wire harness components. As usual, our team was fully dedicated to customizing the perfect solution from start to finish.

The Solution: Unparalleled Dependability

The team at GP Reeves worked relentlessly to ensure the boat manufacturer received a top-notch solution that would empower their cutting-edge marine technology. From the start of the lubrication process with a 5-gallon bucket of dielectric grease, to 0.1cc of grease properly dispensed to each connector of the harnesses, our team developed an effective solution to handle each stage of the greasing process. The custom system enabled an efficient delivery of grease material with intense precision and strong dependability. Our engineers designed custom nests for each of the 31 individual connectors across various harnesses and ensured that they would deliver an equal distribution of dielectric grease to each of the connector receptacles.

Sensors placed at each custom nest confirmed a proper initial connection by the operator, ensuring the wire harness connectors were sufficiently attached to the lubrication system’s nests. 3 out of the 31 connectors were on a harness that was already integrated with the boat’s motorized hull. To accommodate this assembly, GP Reeves configured a swing arm component of the dispense stand. This arm positioned the unique connector’s custom nests to the 3 locations on the hull. Through this, GP Reeves exemplified its ability to assist with uncommon and challenging dispensing applications.

Masterful automation expertise of our engineers allowed the connections to be completely lubricated in under a minute. Plus, separate cycles were designed for each harness, ensuring a proper grease application with extreme levels of accuracy. Two servo AA8 grease dispensers use closed loop position monitoring which allows for verification of successful material delivery. The servo driven solution offers feedback that ensures grease is dispensed adequately onto each required surface.

The components of the system provided the boat manufacturer with numerous benefits and new levels of successful verifiability.

End Result: Solution for the Sea

Overall, the custom designed system provided intricate precision with automated dispensing that sped up the assembly process. With our custom nesting, GP Reeves offered a method of grease dispense that was specific to the particular characteristics of the manufacturer’s product. Our advanced automation abilities also ensure that the process occurs quickly, and that the distribution of specific dispense volumes is repeatable with every dose. The unique configuration of equipment allows the marine manufacturer to effectively apply dielectric grease material to all necessary connectors with extreme accuracy. In the end, our customer was able to obtain higher production volumes, increased operational efficiency, greater product quality, and rising profitability. If you have a similar project or would like to discover the possibilities of customized dispensing equipment, get in touch with one of our experts today!

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