DC-DC converter assembly benefits from robotic automation
The TDK-Lambda CC-E DC-DC converter series is manufactured in very high volumes for a wide variety of applications. All the electronic components used are surface mounted onto the circuit board using fully automated pick-and-place, reflow solder and inspection equipment. In addition, three, double armed, humanoid robots have been recently deployed in the Nagaoka Japan factory. These robots form the leads on the surface mount models, attach covers and package the final product into trays.
Automotive manufacturing has been using large industrial robots for over 50 years to weld, paint and assemble parts and vehicles. Now smaller, lower cost robots are handling many repetitive tasks previously performed by human workers, which benefits the customer, employer and employee.
Once programmed, a robot will perform with a very high level of consistency. They will not become fatigued after a few hours, nor will they be distracted from their task. The resulting repeatability in the process yields a very high quality level and reduces the possibility of short term and long term field failures.
Repetitive motion disorders are caused by too many uninterrupted monotonous movements. Over an extended period of time, production workers sitting at a workstation can develop painful injuries that occur in the wrist, arm, shoulder, neck or back. The resulting damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments will require extended periods off work, or even surgical procedures. Many patients will never recover full strength or range of motion. The use of a robot to perform these types of tasks thus avoids harm to employees.
Production volumes in many industries are very cyclic, due to material shortages and increased or decreased demand. When product sales are high, some employees may welcome some extra overtime. Others may have commitments with young families or older parents to take care of. With a large increase in demand, a quick transition from running just one shift a day to three shifts is highly problematic or totally impossible, particularly when additional staff have to be hired, trained, certified and supervised.
A robotic assembly work cell is quite capable of doing more hours, or even 24 hours a day if required. Each cell uses an automated pallet or tray system, which can facilitate the supply of raw material and the removal of finished product. If multiple product types need to be assembled or packed, production changeover times can be reduced with the use of software programming and bar code identification.
An initial financial investment is needed to introduce robot assembly to a factory but prices are reducing rapidly. As well as saving on employee costs, other factors like increased quality, production flexibility and employee health should be considered when calculating the return on investment (ROI).
For more information about the CC-E series of DC-DC converters, please visit: www.emea.lambda.tdk.com/cc-e