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An Overview of ASC’s Innovative Industrial Automation and Assembly Projects

The case studies below explore some of Advanced Systems and Controls’ innovative engineering solutions for custom industrial automation and assembly projects.

Cover Bolt Rundown

The ASC3012 OP270 Cover Pan Bolt Rundown station is designed to tighten a cover pan to an axle assembly. The system, as designed, tightens 16 bolts, in any pattern. The maximum # of bolts would depend on material size. A Bosch X-Y servo slide is used to position a Bosch spindle to an accuracy of +/- 0.5mm. Torque of up to 250 nm can be applied independently to each bolt.

  • Machine Type: Turnkey production assembly machine
  • Controls Package:
    • Siemens PLC and HMI
    • Bosch X-Y Slide
    • Bosch DC Nutrunner
  • Cycle Time: 55 seconds
  • Notes: In the event of a tightening failure, the bolt is automatically backed off, and an operator can replace the faulty bolt. The sequence will then resume from that point forward.

To learn more about some of our other specialized fastening applications (such as hub rundown or adjuster nut installation) visit our Assembly page.

Hub (SPINDLE) Nut Rundown – Wheel End Bearing Preload

The ASC2313 Hub Rundown Machine is representative of bearing preload machines we have built in the past. Hub rundown machines are capable of executing a complex tightening procedure. Hub nuts are tightened to high torque, loosened a short distance, and then re-tightened a specific number of degrees or to a low torque. Hub rotational torque is monitored to confirm that the bearings are properly preloaded.

  • Machine Type: In-line Production Assembly Machine
  • Controls Package:
    • Rockwell PLC and HMI
    • Industrial PC
  • Cycle Time: 55 seconds
  • Notes: Our latest hub rundown software offers real-time graphing and analysis of all torque signals, as well as motor velocity and position.

 

Axle Hypoid Gear Adjuster Nut Machine

This machine sets proper bearing preload and backlash on an adjuster nut axle center section. After setting backlash and preload, the machine requires an operator to visually verify the gear pattern. Finally, after the part is approved, nut runners mounted to X-Y linear slides automatically tighten all bearing cap bolts.

  • Machine Type: Production Assembly Machine
  • Controls Package:
    • Rockwell PLC and HMI
    • Industrial PC
  • Cycle Time: 120 seconds
  • Backlash Repeatability: +/- 0.01mm
  • Preload Dimensional Repeatability: +/- 0.004mm
  • Notes: The machine automatically adjusts ring gear / pinion gear mesh and differential preload to produce the best possible gear mesh. Images of the completed gear pattern are stored via a camera system.

 

Axle Assembly – Ford RDU Assembly Process

Of the 30 plus axle assembly lines Advanced Systems and Controls has produced, the Ford RDU assembly process is the fastest and most complex. The line produces a full independent axle module (complete with CV shafts and pinion disconnect clutch).

The line features two parallel front-line assembly processes, each producing one axle every 45 seconds. The parallel processes are linked by crossover turntables, allowing sections to be bypassed easily.

The back line processes all parts at double the speed of each front line: one axle assembly is produced every 24 seconds. The back line features three robot-loaded, parallel balancers, each of which can balance one assembly per 60 seconds.

  • System Type: Rapid Automated Assembly Process
  • Controls Package:
    • Siemens PLCs and HMIs
    • Industrial PCs
  • Build Rate: 24 seconds per axle (800 units / shift)

 

Bolt Tightening

The STA40 Ring Gear Bolt Rundown station uses two nut rundown spindles to tighten up to 12 ring gear bolts. The system is capable of applying up to 1000nm of torque to each individual bolt. Bolts are run down in pairs: a rotary positioner rotates the ring gear from the bottom as necessary to run down all bolts.

  • Machine Type: Production Assembly Machine
  • Controls Package:
    • Rockwell PLC and HMI
    • Atlas-Copco DC Nutrunners
  • Cycle Time: 120 seconds
  • Notes: A laser is used to sense each non-tightened bolt over the course of a single rotation. Thus, the ring gear is permitted to arrive in any orientation, and the bolt configuration of the ring gear need not be radially symmetric.

 

Hydraulic Bearing Press

The OP30 Hydraulic Bearing Press is a simple example of the types of presses we build. The machine applies a hydraulic load of up to 10 tons to assemble a bearing onto a pinion. Force and distance are continuously monitored to assure that the components are assembled correctly.

  • Machine Type: Production Assembly Machine
  • Controls Package:
    • Advanced Systems and Controls
    • Siemens PLC
  • Hydraulics Package: Bosch
  • Cycle Time: 15 seconds
  • Dimensional Repeatability: +/- 0.2mm
  • Notes: A hydraulic ram is mounted to the top tooling (top green section). The bearing and pinion are pressed against the lower anvil (bottom green section).
    The machine can accommodate multiple pinion and bearing sizes.

 

Dimensional Gaging – Brake Caliper Characteristics

The ASC2175 Basic Characteristics Tester is used to test brake caliper performance characteristics. The machine controls a closed-loop hydraulic feed system that pressurizes the part with standard DOT3 brake fluid. Fluid displacement, pressure, and displacement of the caliper body are measured. A wide variety of test profiles are available, and results are exported directly to Microsoft Excel when the test completes.

  • Machine Type: Lab Benchtop Tester
  • Controls Package: Standard PC with custom control software
  • Cycle Time: Minutes to hours, depending on test type
  • Dimensional Repeatability: +/- 0.003mm
  • Notes: Once the caliper is set up, testing is fully automated. Lengthy tests can be completed without requiring operator intervention.

 

Dynamic Dimensional Gaging – Runout

The ASC2296-04 Flange Runout Gage measures the axial and radial runout of an axle’s pinion flange. A precision gage head (shown in red) engages the pinion flange. This gage head is measured by LVDT sensors (mounted to the left of the gage head disc).

  • Machine Type: Production Test Machine
  • Controls Package: Allen-Bradley PLC and industrial PC
  • Cycle Time: 45 seconds
  • Dimensional Repeatability: +/- 0.013mm
  • Notes: Non-periodic measurement disturbances (such as debris on the measurement disc or electrical noise) are automatically discarded.

Gear Backlash – Dynamic Backlash

  • Machine Type: Production Tester
  • Controls Package: 
    • Siemens PLC and HMI
    • Industrial PC
  • Cycle Time: 55 seconds
  • Dimensional Repeatability: +/- 0.005mm
  • Notes: Tooling and software is included to re-master the system and prepare a report on the quality of the machine’s spindles.
  • Further Information: Click on the chart to see what dynamic backlash can tell you about an assembly:

The ASC3012 OP280 Dynamic Backlash Tester measures an axle’s backlash. Traditionally, backlash is measured using a dial indicator or an automated machine: three points around the ring gear are typically measured. A dynamic backlash tester measures hundreds of samples across the gearset: this is equivalent to measuring the gearset’s backlash by hand hundreds of times. Information about ring gear warpage, ring gear and pinion runout, and even noise issues can be derived from this data.

Differential Lock – EDL Testing

The ASC3012 OP270 EDL Tester tests the Differentials ability to lock and Unlock.

Dynamic Backlash Tester measures an axle’s backlash. Traditionally, backlash is measured using a dial indicator or an automated machine: three points around the ring gear are typically measured. A dynamic backlash tester measures hundreds of samples across the gearset: this is equivalent to measuring the gearset’s backlash by hand hundreds of times. Information about ring gear warpage, ring gear and pinion runout, and even noise issues can be derived from this data.

  • Machine Type: Production Tester
  • Controls Package:
    • Siemens PLC and HMI
    • Industrial PC
  • Cycle Time: 55 seconds

 

Signal Verification – Active ABS Tester

Advanced Systems and Controls is a leader in the development and production of ABS test systems. The ASC3382 Active ABS Tester is representative of these types of machines.

The machine tests a full axle assembly with wheel end tone rings. Standard ABS sensors (provided by the customer) are injected automatically and the tone rings are analyzed for defects.

  • Machine Type: Production Test Machine
  • Controls Package:
    • Siemens PLC and HMI
    • Industrial PC
  • Cycle Time: 18 seconds
  • Signal Repeatability: 10% GR&R on all characteristics
  • Notes: Full sets of test results can be ‘replayed’ on the machine (or on a development or maintenance computer) to support detection of subtle signal flaws.

Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH)

The ASC3012 OP340 NVH machine tests an axle assembly under varying, moderate torque loads. Sensors detect torque vibrations generated by the gearset, and this vibration is used to determine a torque-induced ‘noise’ level of the axle.

  • Machine Type: Production Test Machine
  • Controls Package:
    • Advanced Systems and Controls
    • Siemens PLC and HMI
    • Standard PC
    • National Instruments PXI Controller
  • Cycle Time: 55 seconds
  • Repeatability: Masters to benchmark parts
  • Notes: The system is capable of production even if the PC (used as an interface to the PXI controller) is not running.