“Mass customization” is a concept that has been around for decades. But with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and more sophisticated automation technology, a flexible manufacturing environment that can efficiently address multiple SKUs and more personalized production is becoming a reality.
“For many of our customers, the critical questions are where and how to automate,” said Ken Cook, director of business development, DT Engineering. “We help customers stay on top of the latest technologies – and deliver solutions that improve return on investment (ROI), provide flexibility and address workforce challenges.”
DT Engineering is a family-owned, industrial automation developer and system integrator that prides itself on an innovative approach to project execution by Bringing Concepts to Life. Located in Lebanon, Missouri, DT Engineering serves leading appliance, HVAC, agricultural, tire, consumer product and pharmaceutical/medical device companies.
Conventional Conveyance Limits OEE
“Regardless of industry, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is a critical key performance indicator for our customers,” Cook said. “And repeatability, speed and changeover time significantly impact OEE in filling, assembly and packaging applications.”
Conveyance is central to these applications. And the method used oftentimes limits OEE improvements.
“Assembly, filling and packaging typically involve transporting components or products through a series of processing stations,” Cook explained. “Many of the line shaft, cam-driven machines on plant floors today use belt-type conveyors or other conventional methods for transport.”
Conventional conveyors are designed to move products through a line on a preconfigured path – at a fixed speed. Products on the conveyor are equally spaced – and the system only runs as fast as the slowest process on the line.
Recently, DT Engineering took a new approach to improve machine speed and performance in a multi-application solution featuring Rockwell Automation® independent cart technology (ICT).