A fully automated conveyor system by B A Ridgwell has been delivered to Ford. The conveyor delivers radiators of varying sizes from two heat curing ovens at carefully controlled speeds to operatives at a single line who sort them, add tanks, label and leak test them, ready for dispatch.
As the line is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, reliability is a key factor, as is total speed control to allow operatives to complete their tasks. Flexibility to meet other possible line changes is another consideration.
A series of 27 individual belt conveyors was constructed, combining dual lines exiting the curing ovens into one and then making three 90 degrees turns over the course of the 162m line, finishing with a single line of conveyors at the assembly point.
A 550W motor, turning over at relatively low speeds, powers each conveyor and a separate HID Hitachi three phase 400W L100 AC inverter, housed in a central panel with the PLC, controls the speed of each motor. As there are relatively few speed changes, PC control is not required: the speed of groups of conveyors is set to suit throughput requirements by centralised potentiometers.
Infrared detectors mounted at the end of each conveyor trip a stop signal when too many radiators are queuing up, and an alarm system allows any of the assembly operatives to halt the line.
The L100 drive incorporates PID control and RS422 communications and has seven inputs, of which five are programmable, plus two programmable outputs and an alarm output. Speed setting is by a potentiometer on the front panel or by external analogue or digital signals.
HID Tel: 01493 442525