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What Are the Different Types of Automated Assembly Systems?

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  • Written By: Amy Rodriguez
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Automated assembly systems are commonly offered in stationary tabletop versions, installed along conveyor belts, and modified with other production line equipment, such as printed circuit board (PCB) optical bond testers. These system types help companies mass produce goods for sales and distribution. As a result, their functions must be properly monitored for the best product output.

Stationary tabletop automated assembly systems resemble a large human arm attached to a flat table surface. The robotic arm drills, screws, or manipulates a production item; for example, a cell phone housing requires multiple holes along its perimeter to secure screws between the device's front and back covers. Automated assembly systems align the housing on the table and drill into the cover with the robotic arm. As a result, the housing has precisely positioned holes, set at a rapid pace, to keep production rates high.

Conveyor belts move production parts along at a particular speed for controlled manufacturing. Normally, automated assembly systems are positioned along the belt line at strategic points; area "A" may have a washer placed onto a bolt by a robotic arm while area "B" uses another assembly branch to attach the final nut on the washer and bolt configuration. A worker may monitor one or multiple robotic arms along the conveyor belt to ensure that each station works within strict specifications.

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Common production line equipment can be modified with automated assembly systems for better manufacturing times. Robotic arms can be placed on an optical tester to align a newly built printed circuit board (PCB) with the illuminated internal optics; misalignment can cause the tester to deem the board faulty, which can reduce production times. Proper computer and robotic alignment ensures that the machine functions correctly.

Another machine modification for automated assembly systems is the pick and place device. A well-maintained machine will use a robotic arm to choose the correct electronic component for placement on a new PCB; the tiny components need to be oriented in a specific position for the circuit to work correctly. Human pick and place assembly is prone to error since the components are easily misaligned or chosen incorrectly.

These robotic systems cannot be neglected by workers or management. Each machine must be monitored during use and adjusted accordingly; each product that emerges from the system should be inspected for quality. Issues that arise during the production day should be identified and solved in a timely manner for the best manufacturing rates.

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