Automation of adhesive dispensing has gained massive popularity in recent years thanks to the productivity and efficiency advantages they provide in a plethora of applications. Even though adhesive dispensing systems require a hefty initial investment, as well as additional mechanical systems to position and hold objects for dispensing in a repeatable fashion, manufacturers are still seeing the returns they need with these systems in the long run. In some instances, they have the potential of cutting cycle time in half.
So how exactly do these systems accelerate productivity, given the initial investment and equipment required?
Manual processes are usually tedious, slow, prone to errors, and messy. They leave a lot to be desired, and can often prove to be a massive bottleneck in production processes that ultimately result in reduced efficiency. Automation solves many of these problems in two main ways.
By nature, robotic systems are highly cyclic. The adhesive dispensing process becomes highly accurate after automating. Minimal time is spent perfecting and cleaning up incorrect and messy dispensing jobs. The production line can thus move as fast as the adhesive can be dispensed.
Robots can dispense adhesives extremely fast. Certain systems are known to dispense at speeds up to 800 inches per minute (IPM) with almost perfect accuracy. Add high levels of uptime to this, and you have an automated dispensing system that can outdo your manual processes by a huge margin.
INDUSTRIES THAT UTILIZE AUTOMATED GLUE DISPENSING
The way these robotic technologies have become so successful is by designers performing experiments on customer products to ensure they are providing and building an accurate robot dispensing technology that will give the best results possible. Because these robots provide such high-quality products, it is no wonder why they are ideal solutions for adhesives and bonding in various industries. Some industries that profit greatly from robotic dispensing include:
Aerospace adhesive is applied throughout the entirety of the interior, exterior, and engine compartment of aircraft. Usage varies from overhead lockers to the handy seat trays and even the in-floor lighting.
- Industrial assembly
From consumer goods, industrial manufacturing, or compounding, adhesive products provide reliable, efficient, and innovative solutions to all bonding challenges.
Adhesives employed in medical practices are most commonly used for surgical procedures and appliance bonding, and while medical adhesives encompass a wide range of fabrication materials, they are typically composed of synthetic or biological formulations.
Adhesives can be used throughout the lighting industry. Electronic PCBs and lamp holders require bonding to hold them in place. Light reflectors need bonding – sometimes high-temperature adhesives are necessary to cope with extreme temperatures for this type of application, usually for industrial lighting and stage and theatre lighting where high-powered bulbs radiate a lot of heat.
Adhesives and sealants are used by car and truck manufacturers to bond and seal their vehicles’ interiors, exteriors, under the hood, under chassis, and many other related applications.
The printed wiring board or, as it is more commonly referred to, the printed circuit board (PCB) is the core building block of the electronics industry. The PCB utilizes adhesive materials in bonding surface-mount components, wire tacking, conformal coatings, and encapsulating (potting) components.
As you can see, robot automated glue dispensers play a major role in several industries. That is not to say that they will replace human engagement in the workforce. However, there are certain areas that robots are just more efficient and effective, and fluid dispensing is one of those industries benefiting from the technology.
COMMON PROBLEMS WITH GLUE DISPENSING MACHINES
Some of the most common issues that come up with automated glue dispensing are:
- Unpredictable size: When the glue is inconsistent, it is most commonly caused by the pressure cylinder of the stored fluid or unstable air pressure.
- Slow Flow Rate: Various factors can lead to the slowing down of the dispensing rate.
- Glue Jam: This situation mainly arises thanks to excessive moisture or repeated use of instant glue.
Air bubbles in the fluid: Excessive fluid pressure and short valve opening time may lead to air seeping into the liquid.
HOW CAN MACHINE VISION HELP?
In recent years, machine vision and image processing system designers have employed alternate approaches to develop inline non-contact optical inspection systems that provide quality control for the adhesive or FIPG dispensing process.
Two-dimensional (2D) solutions have been implemented that can successfully measure bead position and bead width. However, they cannot provide a complete cross-section profile, which is critical to verify dispense volume at every position. For example, if vibration causes the dispense nozzle to dislocate the part surface and leave only a thin film of bead, a 2D system may not be able to detect the inadequate coverage.
To provide a cross-section profile of the bead, 3D techniques may offer a more satisfactory solution. In fact, the industry is leaning towards 3D laser triangulation.
As machine vision systems reduce in size and improve in speed, accuracy, and resolution, their popularity is only expected to grow over the next few years, helping you see the way to the factory of the future.
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