Nobody likes to clean up a mess. It causes frustration, downtime, wasted material, expenses, and a loss in production capacity. An integrator came to GP Reeves seeking a solution for the hassles they were facing due to a troublesome RTV application process. The company was attempting to apply RTV material to the transaxle housings that would be used to produce John Deere tractors and XUVs. These vehicles are used to provide operators with reliable ways to effectively clear land, care for livestock, cultivate crops, and complete harvests effectively and efficiently. Although they might do the dirty work, their assemblers shouldn’t have to. 

The Problem: Messy and Inconsistent Application 

In their original process, the integrator was utilizing a time pressure system to dispense the RTV material with a luer lock tip. The time pressure system had speed limitations, volume inconsistencies, an extreme vulnerability to changes in viscosity and temperature, and was difficult to control. The luer lock tip was not zero-cavity, so there was an inappropriate allowance for oozing and wasted material. These struggles were multiplied when the influences of the RTV’s characteristics were noted.  

RTV is a type of rubber that, when exposed to an environment at room temperature, reacts in a way that forms a cured and hardened adhesion to a surface. So, when being processed with the inadequate operations of the previously used time pressure system and luer lock valves, the RTV would cure and thus clog the machinery. Labor, expenses, and time were spent cleaning up clogs, fixing and replacing machine components, and on top of it all the beads that did get dispensed were often inaccurate.  

The time pressure system allowed for air to enter the cavities of its parts and nozzles, and this air created gaps in the RTV material as it was dispensed onto the transaxle’s surface. After realizing the amount of waste, cost, and havoc this process was causing its production line, the integrator reached out to GP Reeves to seek a solution to this unnecessary mess. 

The Challenge: Applying a Unique Material with Customized Conformity 

When developing the transaxle components of the tractor and XUV systems, it was crucial to consider a material that would maintain the machine’s durability, reliability, and longevity most optimally. Specifically, in a transaxle there exists a housing cover which gets bolted onto the transaxle housing itself. This housing contains oil, which can’t be able to escape through cracks or openings. RTV would be the best solution to prevent any potential leakage due to its ability to form a tough yet flexible bond while being able to withstand the mechanical stress and weathering often faced by transaxle components. 

On the process side of the procedure, however, RTV can be a challenging material to work with. As soon as it meets the atmospheres naturally occurring moisture or exposed to a room temperature environment, the material cures and hardens. This makes proper maintenance crucial and causes extra circumstances to navigate during the manufacturing process. Additionally, RTV is susceptible to air bubbles. Air can easily be introduced to the mix of RTV material, and this can cause gaps in material flow and dispensed product. 

This unique and challenging material had to be managed in a specialized way and required attention-to-detail by its manufacturers. To properly execute RTV dispenses, the machinery components would all need to accommodate for the needs and requirements of the integrator’s preferred RTV product. 

The Solution: Automated System from GP Reeves 

GP Reeves was able to come up with a solution to provide the ultimate process for the integrator’s challenging RTV application. Our engineers were able to solve the integrator’s main problems of inaccuracy, early curing, and maintenance expenses with our advanced dispensing systems.  

For starters, we were able to use our patented air check compression test to eliminate the possibilities of inaccuracies due to the presence of air. Since air would now be monitored and checked, the RTV material would no longer suffer from gaps and lines of dispensed material beads would no longer be thrown off. Our automated dispense machinery also ensured dispenses occurred with repeatable accuracy, so the flow, volume, position, and pressure of material was the same across dispenses and all beads had conformity. Operators were able to rely on the dependability and reliability of GP Reeves machinery so they would no longer have to deal with dispensed mistakes or clean-up. 

GP Reeves was also able to circumvent the original system’s issue of premature curing with zero-cavity dispense valves, ridding the possibility of the RTV material meeting moisture or room-temperature conditions before its proper dispense time. The system utilized an AA7 dispenser, which has been developed to expertly accommodate for materials with moisture-cure potential. The system’s pump was air operated with single post ram that included an inductor seal to ensure even more intentionality for the proper maintenance of material. Our attention to detail and years of expertise ensured the RTV material and its curing factors were properly considered in this dispensing process. 

Finally, GP Reeves was able to decrease the maintenance required for the dispensing process with its innovative technology. Because of our zero-cavity dispense valves, operators no longer had to deal with oozing material and the hassle of cleaning it up. The servo dispenser involved also ensured that dispenses were consistent and controllable. This led to beads with uniform widths and positions, allowing assemblers to complete the transaxle development process more effectively with little worry about inaccuracies. The automated dispense system was also able to change its rate of dispense based on the location and time of dispense, so it could effectively dispense the RTV material onto and around the different positions of the housing structure without manual interference. Our team was able to minimize the integrator’s downtime and maintenance needs with our clean, accurate, and dependable automated dispense system.

End Results: Reliable Repeatability 

By integrating an automated dispense system from GP Reeves into their assembly line, the integrator was able to assemble transaxle housings and get them ready for use on farms across the globe more effectively. Our system was able to make the integrator’s assembly line more efficient, sustainable, profitable, and productive. We decreased downtime and saved the company plenty of expenses on maintenance, labor, and wasted material. With our advanced dispensing machinery, the integrator was able to produce its own world-class products at an unprecedented speed and with a maximum level of quality. Our goal is always to help you reach yours, and this project continues the legacy. See how we can propel your assembly line towards your own business goals and get in touch with us today! 

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