Semiautomatic benchtop stripping and terminal crimping machine are a staple of every harness assembly shop. They’re perfect for high-mix, low-volume wire processing applications. But, if you want to produce thousands of identical crimped wires within a shift, you need a fully automatic cutting, stripping and crimping system.
Fully automatic machines are much faster and a lot more consistent than semiautomatic equipment. They could combine multiple operations in a setup and automatically separate rejected leads.
Automatic equipment removes the human element from high-volume wire processing applications, while improving quality and reducing costs. As an example, state-of-the-art automatic crimping machines can process wires at rates above 4,000 pieces per hour with absolute precision and also in-process inspections.
On the other hand, manual crimping is susceptible to variations from the operator, such as prematurely positioning a wire in a terminal before crimping, resulting in mistakes and bad quality. Automatic machines eliminate this variation.
“Fully automatic machines need fewer operators to perform exactly the same tasks,” says Erich Moeri, manager of applications engineering at Komax Corp. “Therefore, they may be more efficient. Generally, you are going to reduce floor space. There’s less equipment and you will eliminate some intermediate storage, like the have to store precut wires.
“Fully automatic machines will also supply a higher quality product, because of the integrated quality checks,” adds Moeri. “In addition, they supply a much higher output.”
“Wire harness shops can do more using the same quantity of human resources,” notes Rich Schwartz, v . p . of engineering at Schaefer Megomat USA Inc. “Fully automatic machines also allow shops to visit after more and larger jobs. In some cases, a machine could purchase itself inside a year.”
That’s important, because going from semi- to fully automatic equipment demands a big investment. While semiautomatic wire processing equipment can run $15,000 to $30,000, fully automated machines average $50,000 to $75,000. Engineers need to avoid falling from the trap between machine capability and actual use about the plant floor.
Since today’s machines are engineered with quick change-overs at heart, most experts believe there is a spot for fully automatic equipment in high-mix, low-volume wire processing applications.
For instance, Komax delivers a machine especially for that. “The Zeta 633 crimping machine includes a wire sequencer option where you could have 36 different wires ready in the tube cutter always,” Moeri highlights. “Changing wire is performed with the click of any mouse.”
Engineers at many equipment suppliers have designed a variety of quick-change features inside their machines to significantly lower set-up time. Artos Engineering Co. recently unveiled the Cr.22, which may tackle a wide array of applications, such as weather sealing, crimping, twisting and tinning. Whilst the machine are prepared for low-volume runs requiring multiple change outs during production, additionally, it can accommodate high-volume runs.
“Diversity in production is vital,” says John Olsen, president of Artos Engineering. “Today, customers want options and suppleness.
“The factor to justifying an investment inside an automatic system is to keep the device producing parts as efficiently as you possibly can with minimal downtime,” explains Olsen. “Older automatic machines could take approximately twenty minutes to setup and change in one job to a different one.
“This was acceptable in case the machine could process a huge number of wire at one time and run for several hours from the initial set-up,” adds Olsen. “However, when a customer would like to run a few hundred pieces and alter to a different one job, that amount of change-after a while negates productivity.”
With quick-change carts, sensors that track wire core size, and all sorts of servo-driven technology, fully automatic machines may be set up within seconds vs. minutes. Most new-generation machines offer built in quality checking features, which can be vital for wire harness shops doing automotive-related applications.
“These varieties of customers are trying to find machines that provide the best amount of fully integrated quality checks,” says Moeri. “We offer equipment where operators begin with downloading ‘jobs’ from a business resource planning system and look material in the machine utilizing a bar code scanner for process verification.
“Product quality concerns could be addressed by automatic crimp height measurements, crimp height adjustments, pull-force monitors and seal position analyzers,” Moeri points out. “Afterwards, they can look for feedback in the product created by automatically uploading critical information straight back to the ERP system. That addresses traceability issues.”
User-friendly controls and software make all of that possible. As an example, Schleuniger Inc.’s new CrimpCenter 36 S boasts efficient motor programming and internal Ethernet communication in addition to a maximum feed rate of 8 meters per second. Additionally, it includes a touch-screen monitor and intuitive operating software.
“The combination makes programming simple enough to ensure even novice operators quickly feel at ease,” says Gustavo Garcia-Cota, crimping product manager. “Standard TCP/IP protocol permits easy machine networking. The optional EASY ProductionServer software helps optimize order processing and allows engineers to observe and gather valuable production data from practically around the globe.”
As wire gets smaller and smaller, it will become more difficult to take care of. That will undoubtedly spur more investment in fully automatic equipment that will easily grip thin wire.
“Machines built with powerful servo motors and optimized programming of the process axes provide for precise and fast motion sequences,” says Schwartz.
His company recently unveiled copper wire stripper that that can process wire as small as .08 millimeter squared.
“The Megomat 1000 posseses an unusually large variety of wire cross sections that may be processed,” claims Schwartz. “It are equipped for approximately AWG 8 wire. And, the arrangement of your cutting blades dexjpky35 for very short wire overhangs.”
A software-controlled, adjustable wire guide system eliminates the application of tubes on the gripper. The programmable gripper jaw openings are automatically adjusted. “A large, two-side enabled swing radius of both gripper arms provides flexibility in realizing different applications,” says Schwartz.
However, regardless of how much they embrace fully automatic equipment, most wire harness shops will have to keep a few manual and semiautomatic machines on hand. Applications involving cables, large-gauge wire, twisted-pair leads and shielded wires consistently demand a few of these tools.