One of the many challenges facing manufacturers today is reducing labor costs, or even finding enough workers to address the workload. One key strategy to address this is automation. Automation can be a full turnkey system where parts are loaded, processed, and pass through without any operator interaction. Another common method, however, is to utilize a semi-automated system.
What is a semi-automated pad print system?
Semi-automated systems are ideal for low volume, cost-effective production. Typically, the operator loads the part manually and our system performs any required pre-treatment, decorates the part, performs and post-treatment and vision inspection and brings the part back to the operator to unload. This allows the operator to load parts, monitor the system, and even support packing operations where the bulk of the work is done through the automation.
In this example, parts are manually loaded onto a mandrel fixture. The system transitions to the next station where the part presence sensor ensures not only that the load was completed, but also to ensure that the part is set properly. The printer station then applies the image to the part. Here, you can see a single part being decorated on three different sides. This is accomplished through the use of a custom mandrel that rotates the part. Features shown in this example include:
The tape off can be used to clean the pad to ensure proper quality throughout the run.
Vision Inspection System
Another common option for automations is the addition of an inspection system. In this case, a vision system. These systems test for image present as well as quality checks to ensure there are no issues with the ink transfer.
The HMI is basically the brains of the system. It controls all the various stations throughout. It can also keep track of parts, rejects, other instructions from the administrator.
The reject station removes any parts that do not pass quality checks from the inspection. These parts are isolated and counted for quality metrics.
Finally, parts are offloaded either to bulk or moved onto the next process, such as curing oven or an assembly machine.
There are many benefits to automated pad print systems including increased output/productivity, line speeds, safety and repeatability. At the same time, automated systems allow for decreased scrap rates, man power, and factory lead times.
Widely regarded as the industry leader in pad printing automations, Trans Tech has over four decades of experience building hundreds of automated printing solutions. Our automations range from simple semi-automated systems to highly complex fully automated solutions.
Our robust project management system, investment in cutting edge technology and deep market-specific expertise further establish Trans Tech as the market-leader in pad print automation.
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