Case: Pressure sensor

Keeping up with the markets

Using a flexible and scalable production line
Automotive

When you are faced with increased market demands for several of your products, you want your investment in automated production to be reusable. This is exactly what Sensata Technologies, the world’s leading supplier of sensors and controls, wanted to achieve with production automation. We developed a flexible production line for them, that increased the production volume, enabled faster product changes and made it possible for Sensata to spread the investment over the number of product types manufactured on this production line.

Customer needs and goals

A growing demand for automotive pressure sensors prompted the desire for a higher production capacity. For its new solution, Sensata Technologies wished to raise the product quality and minimise the chance of production errors. Reducing operator handling time was seen as one of the ways to achieve this. Additionally, the client wished to reduce the investment per product type and the resulting production line should be easy to maintain and service.

Initially, Sensata Technologies requested a duplicate of the existing machines, based on turntables. IMS engineers saw the potential for better results with one integrated, modular production line.

Semi-automated sensor assembly line

IMS challenges and solution

The first step in the project was to examine the earlier production line, which consisted of two turntables. These turntables complicated a capacity increase or the production of another type of automotive sensor on the same machine.

We decided to use a modular production line with added, interchangeable process modules. This makes it relatively easy for Sensata to add or remove production processes, as you can shuffle around with the production steps. And even better, it will facilitate a higher production volume or a change of product to be manufactured.

For example, should a new product type require an additional process step, the new production line caters for this. Thanks to its independent control system, a process module can be tested and adjusted offline. Whereas linking and integrating a process module can be done in just half a day.

Changing to a different product type should be as easy as possible. Thus, we looked at possibilities to improve the product carrier and designed the tooling of this carrier in such a way, that during a production run, the operator can easily change the product type. This takes place according to the SMED methodology. To make it even easier, Sensata Technologies can keep using the tooling that is used in the present machinery.

Another challenge was presented by an important process, which restricted the total number of products that could be handled. By adding the IMS-designed “fast carrier exchange” to this process, an additional carrier can be processed very quickly after the previous carrier has been processed. This speeds up the process, shortens the cycle time and increases the production capacity.

An overview of the production processes that are integrated on the production line:

  • Cleaning
  • Assembly
  • Crimping
  • Data Tracking: each carrier has its own unique RFID tag
  • Vision check: presence, color, size, position (in one frame)
  • Auto unload bad parts

Results for the customer

After the installation of our modular, flexible production line in Mexico, Sensata Technologies has experienced the following key benefits:

  • Increased production capacity
  • Labor costs savings by requiring two instead of three operators
  • Increased serviceability through easy access to the machine and process modules, and offline debugging
  • Adaptability to the most useful layout (line, L-shape, U-shape)
  • Minimum investment product type changes thanks to a plug-and-play platform

"Easy access and flexible tooling"

Hans Velten

Sales Manager

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SMALL, ASSEMBLED PRODUCTS CALL FOR A SMART AND SCALABLE PRODUCTION LINE

IMS is your partner in enhancing your production capabilities. Do you want to know more about production automation or do you have a specific automation challenge for your innovative product? We are happy to assist you further!

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Harry Mijnsbergen

Sales Manager