Cleveland—At vacuum cleaner manufacturer Kirby Co., quality is paramount. It's one of the main reasons that their customers are willing to pay more than a $1,000 for a vacuum cleaner while most people spend less than $100.
When Kirby's senior process engineer Mike Madey considered automating the production of the company's new Generation VI vacuum cleaner, cost was an issue, but not the only concern. "At Kirby, cost reduction by itself is not the driving force to automate," says Madey. We insist that Product quality must be guaranteed, he adds.
Madey's engineering challenge in automating the pick-and-place operation involved positional accuracy, space, and mounting flexibility. He selected HMP linear handling modules and other pneumatic equipment from Festo Corp. (Hauppauge, NY) for the ease with which the products are adapted into the automation equipment.
"The HMP pick-and-place unit had to be mounted between two bowl feeders with limited space," says Madey. "We had to pick up two different parts at the end of a feeder track and accurately place them into fixtures on a dial indexer." The HMP linear-handling module has precise motion that is repeatable to±0.010 mm.
The HMP has an intermediate stop that allows for positioning of components at different levels, simplifying the design and the assembly. Dovetail joints allow positional adjustment and mounting flexibility. Madey also points out that no adjustment to shock absorbers is required after making any stroke adjustments.