Automotive Manufacturing: Quality or Quantity, Why Not Have Both?

TS Trim Industries, manufacturer of interior door panels for Honda Accords, Civics, and CRV’s, produces over 3,400 sets of door panels a day. They have a manufacturer, Sinto located in Japan, that contains 10 automated assembly machines that ultrasonically weld components to the plastic panels. There are a total of 48 weld horns on the ten machines, 8 machines with 4 horns each and 2 machines with 8 horns each, and each machine uses a great deal of pneumatics for transport, clamping and control.

The current welding cycle is 32 seconds, they needed to decrease it to 30 seconds or less to increase productivity and the quantity of doors manufactured. However, the faster cycle times cause plastic “stringers” (as seen in the picture to the right) which is a major quality control issue. This welding process is the bottleneck in the door panel process. They needed a quick and permanent solution to ensure both quality and quantity were met.

Additionally, the amount of heat required to effectively assemble the interior of the door was causing damage to the weld horns. This was requiring them to order replacements every month, costing them over $50K a month. They needed a quick and affordable solution that would cool the weld horns, to eliminate “stringers” ensuring high quality, and simultaneously cool the weld horns to reduce, or hopefully eliminate, the need for replacements each month.

The 4 weld horns on the 8 machines were previously being cooled externally with compressed air, approximately 2 cfm, routed through a 6mm flexible tubing and then though a ¼” x 6” long copper tube. The air from the copper tube was only blowing on one side of the horn. The 8 weld horns on the 2 machines are cooled internally and externally with compressed air.

After reviewing their unique application, we recommend a solution that would solve both problems. We recommended that they use our 631, 208, or 106 model cold air guns and vortex tubes to solve the quality and quantity problem. In fact, a sister company of theirs in Canada, currently uses several of our 631’s on their assembly line for a similar application. After demonstrating the 631 and 208-15-H vortex tubes, showing the cold air flows and cold temperatures achievable, they liked the 208 physical size and performance the best.

Although the 208-15-H is an excellent fit, the key to solving their problem, and hopefully allowing for further increases in the cycle time, is getting enough compressed air to the vortex tube to properly cool the weld horns effectively. The current 6mm tubing routing will most likely need to be bypassed, or altered, to allow acceptable air flow and pressure. Although the right tool is always important, it’s crucial to look at all aspects of the application and see how continuous improvements can be made.

For any questions on how we can offer innovative compressed air solutions give me a call!

Steve Broerman

Application Engineer


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