Automation helps SG Technologies double production

SG Technologies – a global leader in the production of high performance magnetic components – has more than doubled the production capacity for one of its highest volume products thanks to a new high speed automated product packaging system developed by GB Innomech.

A manufacturer of high performance magnetic components and assemblies, SG Technologies specialises in the development of innovative magnetic materials and process technologies that allow its customers to improve efficiency and performance in their end product.

The new high speed packaging system eliminates all manual handling of finished magnetic components. A ‘pick and place’ robot transfers five components at a time into specially-designed trays ready for shipment – image courtesy of Innomech/Phil Mynott.
The new high speed packaging system eliminates all manual handling of finished magnetic components. A ‘pick and place’ robot transfers five components at a time into specially-designed trays ready for shipment – image courtesy of Innomech/Phil Mynott.

Based in Rainham, Essex – with stockholding facilities in North America and Asia, the firm is a trusted, long term partner for many of the world’s leading technology and manufacturing companies; including, Bosch; Delphi; Ford; VW, and Caterpillar.

Innomech was first appointed by SG Technologies to carry out an in-depth feasibility study and to recommend the most cost-effective way of automating the company’s existing manual packaging process.

The company’s automation specialists then built a working prototype to demonstrate key aspects of the system before proceeding with the design and development phase.

The new system has been designed to operate 24/7 and took less than 10 months to develop from initial concepts through to system build, test and integration into SG Technologies’ existing production line.

Specifically, the new system automates a particularly labour-intensive and repetitive product packaging process for a series of components that are used within automotive fuel injectors.

The automated process starts with the machine operator loading trays of components into the system. The system has been configured to handle two distinct product families, each with multiple variants and without requiring any manual adjustment – image courtesy of Innomech/Phil Mynott.
The automated process starts with the machine operator loading trays of components into the system. The system has been configured to handle two distinct product families, each with multiple variants and without requiring any manual adjustment – image courtesy of Innomech/Phil Mynott.

The fully customised system gives SG Technologies the option to increase production throughput for this product line by 150%, while also improving its manufacturing process efficiency and reducing work in progress.

It also means the company’s skilled operators can focus on more varied and challenging manufacturing tasks, such as short production runs of highly specialised parts.

The automated system eliminates all manual handling of finished magnetic components as they are being transferred from work in progress trays into specially-designed packaging trays ready for shipment.

It has also been configured to handle two distinct product families, each containing multiple variants and without requiring any manual adjustment.

A conveyor belt sweeps a regular stream of components into the system (from right to left in the image) – image courtesy of Innomech/Phil Mynott.
A conveyor belt sweeps a regular stream of components into the system (from right to left in the image) – image courtesy of Innomech/Phil Mynott.

The system works by gently sweeping the components onto a conveyor belt, a high speed laser micrometer verifies the height of each part to within a few microns, and then a Codian ‘pick and place’ robot transfers five components at a time into a packaging tray.

Commercial director at SG Technologies, Stuart Hutcheon explained: “Innomech has developed the ideal system to automate a potentially rate-limiting product packaging process and to provide us with increased flexibility and capacity to meet fast-growing and changing customer demands.

“The system also removes any risk of potential damage to products through manual handling which is critical in our drive towards zero defect manufacturing and even greater process efficiencies.”

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