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Engine Cylinder Liner Insert Automation

POSTED 02/27/2024

THE CHALLENGE

Manually operating an industrial oven and assembly operation for large, heavy steel engine blocks. The process includes heating an engine block to 400°F and then inserting 6 or 8 cylinder liners into each block. The assemblies would go through a cooling process and a gaging operation before being moved to the next leg of the assembly line. To accomplish all of those steps, a firm approached MWES to design a robotic automation system that could operate this process.

THE SOLUTION

The robot automation cell that MWES provided our customer is equipped with two distinct robots, an industrial 4-position rotary oven, two block infeed conveyors, dual liner infeed conveyors, unload conveyors, a cooling chamber and safety fencing. The cell would take in the liners and the engine blocks from two separate conveyors. One robot would handle tending the station and picking and placing the engine block assemblies, while the second robot would insert the liners into each block. Throughout the process barcodes on the engine blocks are scanned to ensure part accuracy.

The system would begin with the operator loading the engine block and the pan rail on the block infeed conveyor. The cylinder liners are also placed by the operator on a separate infeed conveyor. The block-handling robot then picks the first block and places it inside the oven, with accommodation for up to four blocks at a time. Once the blocks have been heated to 400°F the robot moves them from the oven to the stage liners station. At this station, the liner load robot inserts 6 or 8 liners, depending on the part model, into the heated block.

Once the liners are in the block-handling robot transfers the heated block assemblies over to a cooling station. After the block assemblies have been cooled thoroughly, the block handling robot transfers the block assemblies over to the gage station. At the gage station, gage tooling gages the block to ensure the accuracy of the assembly. If the assembled block is deemed good, the block-handling robot moves the assembly over to the unload conveyor. Otherwise, if an error is detected in the assembly the robot moves the assembly to the reject station for operator evaluation.

IMPACT TO THE CUSTOMER

The block line insert automation cell MWES integrated for this firm has a cycle time of 4 minutes or less from part to part. The cycle time is based on a machine not having to wait for the operator to perform part loading duties and the block being able to be heated to 400°F in 3 minutes. This automated robotic assembly and tending cell provides a solution to mitigating the dependence on manual labor.

Midwest Engineered Systems has a wide range of experience integrating robotic assembly automation into production environments. If you’re looking to improve your assembly throughput, we have the knowledge and experience to make the project a success.

Contact us to learn how Midwest Engineered Systems can automate even your most complex and challenging operations today!