Expert indexing equipment selected for Ford Transit suspension assembly

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 1 June 2000




(2000), "Expert indexing equipment selected for Ford Transit suspension assembly", Industrial Robot, Vol. 27 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Expert indexing equipment selected for Ford Transit suspension assembly

Expert indexing equipment selected for Ford Transit suspension assembly

Keywords: Ford, Assembly, Robots

PICO has specified Expert indexing equipment for new automatic welding cells. Coventry-based Expert UK Ltd has won an order to supply precision indexing equipment for two new automatic welding cells used to produce front link arm suspension assemblies for Ford Transit commercial vehicles.

The indexing units are integrated with a series of ten ABB robots as part of a custom engineered production line facility designed and installed by leading manufacturing systems specialist PICO Europe at GKN Autostructure's Telford manufacturing plant.

In operation, the five components comprising each left and right hand link arm assembly are located manually on fixtures at the load station.

On initiation of the production cycle, the workpieces are indexed through 180° by an Expert ED920 rotary table to the first welding station. The fixtures are also equipped with pairs of Expert globoidal indexing drives that rotate the components in 90° increments to ensure they are presented to robot mounted MIG welding guns in the correct orientation to tack weld the assemblies from all sides (see Plate 2).

A further robot transfers the left and right handed link arms to a second set of fixtures, where three ABB 1400 series robots control final seam welding operations. Completed parts are subsequently unloaded automatically and transferred via a common conveyor system to the paint shop for finishing.

Plate 2 Expert indexing drives are key elements in a pair of new automatic welding lines used to produce front link arm suspension assemblies for the latest face-lift model Ford Transit

"The new cells produce a pair of assemblies in less than 50 seconds and operate 16 hours a day", explains PICO's Paul Jackson. "That's why reliability and accuracy were key criteria in the indexing equipment's selection."

"Expert units have previously proved successful in other installations we have undertaken. What's more, Expert equipment already in use at GKN has performed well under similar operating conditions", he adds. "It's this track record of success that gave us the confidence to specify Expert again for this latest contract."

"We are pleased to continue our long association with PICO through this project", comments Expert UK's general manager, Angelo Luciano. "This is the latest in a series of orders to supply major motor industry manufacturers with automated handling and component positioning equipment. It demonstrates how we work closely with customers to tailor equipment to their precise requirements and I am sure will lead to further major business opportunities for us over the next few months."

For further information, contact Expert UK Limited, 2 Newport Road, Holbrooks, Coventry, West Midlands CB6 4BQ. Tel: +44 (0) 1203 717566; Fax: +44 (0) 1203 717567; E-mail:

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