Browse Prior Art Database

Modular Automated Assembly Line

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000040415D
Original Publication Date: 1987-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-02
Document File: 2 page(s) / 61K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Barenboim, M: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

Some automated assembly lines consist of a fixed, linear series of workstations producing a product in one continuous process. This method is sometimes necessitated by a product design which affords no intermediate stable state. Such assembly lines generally do not easily "work around" an out-of-service workstation nor readily accommodate product design changes. The present embodiment postulates a product specifically designed to exist in several successive stable states (subassembly levels) during production, concomitant with automated assembly in several independent assembly cells, in parallel. Each cell accepts the product at one specific subassembly level and raises it to the next higher level.

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Modular Automated Assembly Line

Some automated assembly lines consist of a fixed, linear series of workstations producing a product in one continuous process. This method is sometimes necessitated by a product design which affords no intermediate stable state. Such assembly lines generally do not easily "work around" an out-of-service workstation nor readily accommodate product design changes. The present embodiment postulates a product specifically designed to exist in several successive stable states (subassembly levels) during production, concomitant with automated assembly in several independent assembly cells, in parallel. Each cell accepts the product at one specific subassembly level and raises it to the next higher level. Each cell receives its input from, and delivers its output to, a common materials-handling system which is the intermediary between the several cells, and between the cells and a central distribution center. All cells are based on a modular design concept which dictates a high degree of commonality, but permits a high level of personalization. Fig. 1 shows a representative assembly cell, as implemented in an automated printhead assembly line, which illustrates the common features of this system. It is seen that multiple workstations (1 to 16 in this example) are interconnected by transfer conveyor line 17 in a loop, surrounding and served by internal materials handling conveyor 18. It is seen that conveyor 18 connects the cell to the external materials-handling system 19 through input port 20 and output port 21. The figure shows that each workstation, and the materials-handling system, are provided with an operator panel 22, and a modular process controller (MPC) 23. Workstations with robots are also provided with robot controllers 24. It is seen that some...