Manufacturing Systems Today: Automation Systems

Automated pad-printing systems
In response to customer requests for printing systems to satisfy specific application requirements, Pad Print Machinery of Vermont can enhance its standard pad-printers with custom-designed automation features. Capable of being integrated into full production lines, custom printers can include a rotary table, custom fixtures, robotics, or loading-unloading automation for in-line production. The company works with the customer to assess existing operations and then designs and builds the optimal in-line or cellular system for manufacturing as well as product marking and decorating. One such custom product includes a fully automatic pad-printer in which the operator can bulk load catheters in the holding tray and essentially walk away to perform other tasks. Custom automation capabilities comprise bulk loading and unloading, optical and laser sensing and positioning, part conveying, robotic pick-and-place operations, digital image processing with remote diagnostics, and such pre- and posttreatment options as corona treatment, flaming, UV curing, and infrared oven drying.
Pad Print Machinery of Vermont
East Dorset, VT
www.padprintmachinery.com

Robotic dispensing system
The PVA650 automated dispensing system is a flexible robotic platform for selective coating, potting, beading, and meter-mix-dispensing applications. Available from PVA (Precision Valve and Automation) and suitable for in-line or batch operations, the system can be configured with an overhead three-axis motion platform or optional servo-controlled four-axis motion featuring valve tilting and rotation. It can be configured with various subsystems for dispensing beads of medical-grade lubricant onto rubber plungers in preparation for medical device assembly, spray-coating inner syringe walls with medical-grade lubricant before assembly with the piston, dispensing large dots of UV-curable acrylic adhesive for bonding sensors to plastic housings, and dispensing beads of cyanoacrylate adhesive for bonding the plastic housings of handheld medical devices. The dispensing system can
also be engineered to spray a thin layer of coating material onto a balloon stent.
PVA (Precision Valve and Automation)
Cohoes, NY
www.pva.net

Small assembly robots
A range of four-axis SCARA and five- and six-axis articulated robots for payloads up to 20 kg and reach distances of 350 to 1300 mm are offered to medical device manufacturers by Denso Robotics. Aseptic, Class 10 and Class 100 cleanroom–compatible, dust- and mistproof, dust- and splashproof, and standard models are available to accommodate a variety of manufacturing applications. The robots feature standard cycle times of 0.29 to 0.95 seconds and repeatability to ±0.015 mm. Their compact design facilitates integration in tight spaces and saves floor space. In addition, their concealed electrical wiring and air lines minimize interference with surrounding equipment. A high maximum moment of inertia supports flexibility in the choice of end effectors. Programming software, controllers, and teaching pendants are also offered, including 3-D simulation software that allows off-line programming and remote monitoring of robot operations.
Denso Robotics
Long Beach, CA
www.densorobotics.com

Automated catheter manufacturing system
Employed for performing automated catheter production operations, the dual-feed system (DFS) from ASG Medical Systems consists of three machines mounted onto a rotary stand made of extruded and anodized aluminum. The Center Pick Feeder stick feeder is designed to handle challenging tube-cutting routines and provides clean, square, precise cuts. It can be adapted and linked with almost any other machine to achieve fully automated and customized manufacturing. Offering the same ease of use and reliability as this tube cutter, the similarly aligned Low-Tension Dereeler is capable of cutting, slitting, and flaring thermoplastic PTFE tubing. The dual-feed catheter manufacturing system also simplifies switchovers, enabling a variety of production operations.
ASG Medical Systems
West Palm Beach, FL
www.asgmedical.com

High-speed welding module
To speed up the process of ultrasonic welding in high-volume automated production assembly of disposable medical devices, Concep Machine Co. offers the VRUW mechanical cam–actuated module for the ultrasonic welder. Cam actuation allows for smooth transitions between welding movements and minimizes the cycle time needed to extend and retract the welding horn. The module enables the ultrasonic welding cycle to be less than 1 second per assembly for some products. It is integrated with other assembly modules, forming a high-speed assembly automation system that can output hundreds of parts per minute when multiple parts are processed at each fixture index. Capable of controlling and adjusting welding parameters as well as conventional ultrasonic welding systems can, the module can also be used to duplicate parameters developed during the proof-of-principle phase of product development.
Concep Machine Co.
Northbrook, IL
www.concepmachine.com