LUBE DISPENSING SYSTEMS FOR AUTOMOTIVE PARTS INTEGRATORS
BENEFITS OF AUTOMATED DISPENSING SYSTEMS IN AUTOMOTIVE PARTS ASSEMBLY APPLICATIONS
Accurate and consistent automated lubricant dispensing plays a critical role in generating ongoing savings and controlling overall manufacturing costs. From electrical system components to bearings and heavy-duty parts, most components in today’s automotive assembly environment use advanced, high-performance and usually expensive adhesives, sealants and lubricants in their manufacture. Given the high-volume production of many automotive assemblies, even a small reduction in over-deposits of these expensive materials can drastically reduce material wastage and costs, making waste reduction a priority in a highly competitive automotive market.
Other benefits of using automated lubricant dispensing systems include better quality products, fewer rejects and increased productivity. In many cases, the lubricants applied act as a sealant to prevent water penetration and protect the components from environmental damage and general wear and tear, so precise application becomes critical. Automated dispensing systems provide consistent, repeatable and reliable lubricant application, reducing rejects and reworks and the associated labour time and costs.
In terms of productivity, automated systems often increase output because quicker and more consistent material dispensing and assembly machines can produce more good parts per hour. Cleaner, consistent lubricant application means less mess and cleanup time required, less time wasted on rejects and reworks, and quicker part transfer to the next assembly step, reducing overall production time.
AUTOMATED DISPENSE SYSTEM: LAYOUT 1 – MEASURED, “TIMED DISPENSE” BEAD OF GREASE AT 3 WORKSTATIONS
This system shown above is a positive-displacement-type, bulk-delivery system, where high-pressure pumps move lubricant from central drums to 3 separate workstations, providing consistent, repeatable dispensing at each station. A PLC controls, operates and monitors the system.
Two PowerMaster Air-Operated Pump & Pressure Primer units for standard 55-gallon (400lb) grease drums provide grease to the system. Grease doesn’t “seek its own level”, so a plate with lip seals is forced into the grease to assure positive pump priming, continuous operation, and complete evacuation of the contents of the container. Built in low level indicators, air solenoid, Filter Regulator Lubricator and auto changeover give operators a chance to change out empty drums, ensuring that the system never runs dry.
Grease is supplied directly to the Reservoir/Regulators for each workstation. The Reservoir/Regulators are engineered for use with NLGI 000 through 2 grease, and are equipped with relief valves and air pressure regulators with gauges. They are capable of handling up to 6000 psi primary grease pressure and regulating it to provide 1000 psi or less secondary grease pressure.
Grease then travels to the PLC controlled Dispenser (Shotmetre), which incorporates an air removal system to ensure airless grease in the manufacturing process. It is crucial that air bubbles that could affect shot volume consistency not be allowed to form in the grease. A linear actuator and positive displacement metre provide accurate volume and dispense rate control (with PLC volume confirmation and multiple metre sizes to meet application volumes and cycle time requirements).
Finally, this system uses a Luer Lock industrial needle (0.109″ OD, 0.085″ ID) to run a measured, “timed dispense” bead of grease at each station. However, other valve and dispense options (air spray, air-oil spray, precision spray, jet, needle, metering, spool, auger, brush, etc.) can be easily incorporated into one or more of the individual stations in the system.
AUTOMATED DISPENSE SYSTEM: LAYOUT 2 – DIFFERENT GREASE DISPENSE PATTERN AT EACH OF 3 WORKSTATIONS
An Air-Operated Pump & Pressure Primer unit for a standard 55-gallon (400lb) grease drum provides grease to the system header line. At workstations 1 and 2, grease is supplied to a Pressure Regulator, to provide 1000 psi or less secondary grease pressure to feed the air-operated Ejectors or PurgeX Valves. PLC controlled air-solenoids energize and fire the Ejectors or Valves.
The Ejectors at Station 1 are designed to dispense measured, single shots of mastics, epoxies, sealants, greases and other viscous materials. They are true positive-displacement measuring devices (with steel plunger & body assembly and adjustable displacement volume) which accurately dispense material onto the work piece. They have high-viscosity capability and high-speed capability and maintain extreme accuracy and repeatability, even where temperature, viscosity and material/air supply pressure are variable.
The PurgeX Valves at Station 2 are designed to dispense measured, multiple shots of grease simultaneously, in one area. PurgeX has the ability to deliver very small amounts of lubricant with each cycle and can be rapidly cycled for greater volumes. Precise volumetric delivery is achieved with the positive displacement design. There is no “after drip,” which makes PurgeX a very effective lubrication solution where product contamination is a concern. This 4 feed PurgeX unit is operated with compressed air between 40 to 120 PSI and tolerates temperatures from -15° F to 180° F. It is suitable for use with grease grades 00 to 2. The grease delivery per cycle is adjustable between 0 to .012 cubic inches.
At Station 3, grease is supplied through the header line, directly to an air-operated, single-stroke Grease Pump. The pump discharges grease on the forward stroke and vents on the spring-powered return stroke through a built-in check/vent valve. The reservoir is translucent with a spring-loaded follower. A low-level limit switch incorporated into the reservoir ensures grease is automatically replenished into the reservoir. (Note, for smaller installations, Station 3, instead of connecting to a header line, can be designed to operate with manual filling of the reservoir.)
To dispense, a PLC controlled air-solenoid energizes the pump which fires the positive-displacement, Grease Injectors at the top of the reservoir. These Series SL Grease Injectors are designed to dispense a measured, nest of shots of grease in one area, at one time, but at very small amounts of grease – between .001 to .003 cubic inches. The output is externally adjustable and an indicator stem permits visual check of Injector operation. Designed to dispense lubricants with a viscosity up to NLGI No. 2, individual Injectors can be easily removed for inspection or replacement and operate with compressed air between 1200 to 3500 PSI.
typical applications of automated lubricant dispensing for automotive parts integrator
- Dispensing systems can be used to jet small amounts of electrical and thermal grease onto parts for windshield wipers, trunk locks, door locks and electrical connectors.
- Uniform beads of thicker grease can be applied to door handles, seat recliners, control knobs, and clutch and brake assemblies.
- Spray valves can be used to apply low- to medium-viscosity lubricants onto a part or into cylinder bores inside of parts that are mere inches in diameter.
- For stamping, bending or forming applications, a noncontact system can spray oil as a fine, consistent film that provides complete coverage using minimal material, with no overspray or mist.
FLO Components automated dispensing systems help Ontario and Manitoba companies improve their manufacturing productivity and efficiency by accurately measuring and dependably injecting and depositing precise amounts of oil and grease and other assembly fluids. Our dispensing solutions draw from a broad range of fluid metering units, controls, dispense valves, bulk fluid reservoirs and wipe-clean extruder pumps for high and low viscosity fluids. Whether the material application pattern you need is extruded, stream, swirl, spray, ribbon, stitch or surge, FLO will provide you with the right solution to meet your exact application requirements.