In an effort to reduce the amount of manual handling, and thus increase worker safety on their truck chassis assembly line’s chassis start station, Paccar Australia contacted Custom Automation in order to develop a new solution.
The requirements of this project were very specific, demanding the movement of chassis between 5-10 metres long and weighing up to 4 tonnes, additionally, due to the presence of other factory equipment and operations, the Custom Automation engineering team had to eschew any solution that used overhead equipment, or obstructing tracks mounted on the factory floor that would block the movement of trolleys. In order to circumvent these constraints, an innovative solution was implemented.
Using a custom built Load Handling Frame (LHF) in conjunction with Automatic Guided Carts (AGC) that travel on the factory floor following low profile magnetic tape, our team was able to put together a first of its kind system that uses two AGCs moving synchronously to carry the large load through the chassis start process. In standard applications each AGC operates independently and autonomously, however, in order to carry a load borne by two AGCs simultaneously, a more advanced implementation was required. The team at Custom Automation designed a system in which the pair of AGCs communicate wirelessly with a central control hub that manages travel commands in addition to a hardware switch that would halt an AGC if it found itself travelling ahead of its partner. This system worked effectively to keep the two AGCs in alignment, and ensured the load didn’t get mishandled.
Through the engineering expertise of Custom Automation, Paccar’s needs were effectively met, improving efficiency and safety in their plant without otherwise disrupting day-to-day operations. Since installation, Custom automation has continued to support Paccar in ensuring the system keeps running smoothly.