A generator manufacturing company came to GP Reeves looking for a more effective, efficient, and reliable filling solution for their generator engines. Our customer had three different generator models featuring two different engines that required repeatable oil filling. GP Reeves was able to create a system that recognized the varying generators and could handle their specific dispensing needs. By combining a robotic, vision-driven system with our dispensing expertise, GP Reeves developed a dispensing solution that enabled the OEM to simplify their generator manufacturing process.
The Problem: Inefficient Generator Filling
The developer’s production process leads the different generator models to the same fill station. Previously, an employee would manually fill each generator engine with oil using a handheld dispenser. Though the dispense was measured, the manual process increased the risk of generator engines to be filled twice or not at all. It also required an employee to run the process, using up manpower that could be better utilized elsewhere. Additionally, this method caused an increased risk of potential spills and user error. The manufacturer sought a better way to fill their generator engines with an accurate and repeatable dispense method while also reducing the labor time necessary.
The Challenge: Unreliable Generator Placement
As the generators move down the assembly line, there isn’t a guaranteed orientation the module will sit in. The generators are placed on skids which then travel on the conveyor leaving a large potential margin for error. This meant our system would have to be smart enough to identify where the fill port was located no matter the orientation of the generator. An accurate identification of the fill port ensures a proper oil dispense and minimizes the potential for wasted material.
The Solution: Repeatable and Accurate Dispensing
GP Reeves provided our customer with an automated dispensing system that can precisely fill their varying generator engines. The two different engines required 1.4 and 1.9 qts of material respectively, and the dispense system was able to accommodate each volume with one shot; the overall filling process was completed in less than 70 seconds per engine. This system consists of a 6-axis robot with an integrated vision system paired with an ultra-precise AA9 servo dispenser. The dispenser feeds an end of arm tool that ensures material reaches the proper dispense point. The AA9 utilized for this application allowed the dispense rate and volume to be controlled by a fully programmable PLC, coupled with a 6-axis robot and vision system.
The process of the filling was simple; the system scans the generator as it enters the cell on the conveyor system, confirms it matches what should be coming down the line, locates the generator fill ports, and dispenses the precise amount of oil required. The volume tolerance of the fill was +/- 1%, equating to less than 2cc per fill. One of the generator models requires the total oil volume to be dispensed into two separate ports to prevent overflow, as a result, our system recognizes each port and accurately dispenses the correct portion of the overall dispense. This unique generator solution conveyed our ability to customize systems for any application. Our automated system ensures that no generator passes through the cell without being filled, giving the customer confidence that every engine receives an accurate dispense volume.
End Result: Recognizable Reliability
GP Reeves delivered an automated dispensing system that improved the OEMs assembly line efficiency. With this customized system, we were able to provide our customer with the ability to precisely fill their various generator models. The flexibility of this system also allows for additional models to be added in the future if necessary. Our dispensing solution led to increased productivity, decreased downtime, and labor savings. The customer was thrilled with the final system provided and plans to implement multiple other GP Reeves systems in the future.
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