Cimtec Automation Blog

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

3D Printing’s Possibilities!

           3D printing has arrived and taken the tech community by storm. Here at CIMTEC, we currently have three 3D printers in our office. One of our engineers, Todd, is our 3D printing guru. Todd is usually running several printers for most of the day. Todd loves 3D printers because of how practical the machines are. He explained to me that the practicality of the machines rests in their ability to create an extremely diverse array of objects. Todd claims his personal printer at home is the best investment he has ever made. He explained that his printer makes home improvements easier due to its ability to replace a broken object in minutes. 3D printers may be able to reshape our world. In this post, I will detail how they could.
            3D printers are already able to print organic matter. Some scientists believe that, in coming years, 3D printers will also be able to reproduce human organs. This would be a remarkable feat that could potentially save millions of lives. The technology would be able to use stem cells from the individual to print the organic matter, thereby making the organ specific to the individual.
            This technology is years away, but corporations have already started planning for the possibilities. One such company is L’Oreal, which “is pushing to 3D print skin. The work has huge implications. Most obviously, it will enable L’Oreal to lab test the safety and performance of cosmetic products on 3D bio printed skin. The result will be much more affordably, quickly and easily tested products, throughout the design process – instead of needing to assess their reaction with real bodies or hair before the final stages of testing.” (Leonard King, Forbes)
            The ability to print genetic organs offers the possibility of revolutionizing the beauty business, and more importantly our understanding of human health.
            3D printers have another incredible possibility, replacing the manufacturing of some goods entirely. The digital design schematics for many products are currently available on the web. Most are free of charge while some are for sale at a low price. Printing the exact digital schematics of goods could revolutionize the way we shop. Imagine, if a user wanted a pair of new Nikes, they might only need to buy the digital schematics and then print the shoes in their own home. That is the direction that 3D printers very well could be taking us.
            One thing is certain. 3D printers are here to stay.

Friday, December 11, 2015

CIMTEC Problem Solving

This piece consists of three separate case studies, which highlight the problem-solving ability of CIMTEC. The company names will remain anonymous.

1) Problem / Requirement:

Problems holding tolerances on upstream processes and manual assembly, resulting in high scrap levels of finished products.
Solution: Precision Assembly System
CIMTEC developed an automated assembly using two six-axis robots, with the robot presenting each component to a camera for inspection prior to assembly so out-of-tolerance sub-components would not result in a scrapped final assembly.
The customer not only achieved huge savings by eliminating the amount of scrap, but also increased overall quality and production by detecting faulty components before final assembly.

2) Problem / Requirement:

Scrap on a multi-layer web line was too high, due to problems with web movement causing poor seals.
Solution: Dynamic Tracking System
CIMTEC engineers provided a system that added cameras to measure the web position in both X and Y axes, with servos to move the press based on data from the camera.
The accuracy provided by this measurement system resulted in a measurable reduction in scrap, thus increasing product quality. The savings were dramatic, and the customer is moving forward with similar applications on more lines of productions within the facility.

3) Problem/ Requirement:

The company needed to maintain tighter tolerances on steel plate thickness used by their customers in stamping operations.
Solution: Laser Thickness Measurement System
CIMTEC developed and installed laser thickness monitoring to log dimensions and reject out-of-tolerance steel plate. Data derived from logging over time allowed a reduction in plate thickness from the previous manufacturing method.
The company saved a considerable amount by reducing raw material cost. Data derived from logging over time allowed a reduction in plate thickness from their supplier, saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars.