Plastic Co., Ltd., situated in Shunde District, Foshan City, is a plastic product producer owned by Hisense as well as a quality producer of IKEA. In the end of 2015, innovative Rongshen Plastic introduced in a new production line, the first automatic photo frame fitting line in China. Developed and designed by TECH-LONG, this packaging line is equipped with two robots and can assemble IKEA small photo frames at a high speed of 16 pieces per minute. In May 2015, Rongshen Plastic Co., Ltd. officially commenced construction of the automatic IKEA small photo frame assembly line. From project design, investigation, validation to evaluation, TECH-LONG beat many opponents and was awarded the contract with its abundant experience in customized automation equipment and perfect solution. The project was successfully accepted in November 2015 through the cooperation of Rongshen Plastic and hardworking of TECH-LONG's staff. According to Rongshen Plastic, automatic assembling of photo frames is a brand new challenge and there is no similar precedent in the field. We are impressed by the brand strength of TECH-LONG as a listed company and its abundant experience in automation application during discussion of project feasibility. We are very pleased when we read TECH-LONG’s proposal of robot assembly line, which enhances our confidence in cooperation.”
Robot application: perfect combination of speed and accuracy
According to the project proposal, a manipulator picks materials from the injection molding machine and places the materials on the platform. A six-axis robot places a group of top covers of photo frames on the locating mechanism. A parallel robot grasps two PS pictures and one sheet of instruction on the top cover and locates them properly. The six-axis robot places the bottom cover on the locating mechanism again. At this time, the frame pressing mechanism presses and engages the properly placed covers together to produce a photo frame. The parallel robot places the finished frames on the conveyor belt. For the base of the photo frame, the manipulator picks bases with gates from another injection molding machine. After cutting by the automatic gatecut mechanism, the bases are conveyed to the waiting area of parallel robot, which places the bases on the engaged photo frames. Then bases and photo frames are conveyed to the film wrapping machine station for film wrapping. The properly-wrapped finished products are conveyed to the packing station and ready to be packed in cartons. This two-robot collaboration system produces 16 small photo frames per minute, and it is difficult for manpower to produce the frames at this speed. In the manual frame production process, a total of six workers are required to carry out tasks ranging from taking top and bottom covers to engagement. However, with the introduction of a robot fitting line, the need for manpower is significantly reduced. In fact, only one operator is required for start-up and the process can then be carried out completely unmanned.
High flexibility and intelligence
This highly-developed robot fitting system has excellent flexibility to facilitate technicians of the clients in programming operation. In addition, the robots are easy to maintain due to their few consumables, high accuracy and strong stability, which greatly improve the acceptability of the products. What’s more, application of robot to smart fitting of photo frames relieves operating personnel from dull repeated work, freeing up their time for more innovative, planning, and coordination work. Packaging experts from IKEA China were impressed by the success of the robot assembly line, inspiring them to consider automation expansion for other IKEA factories in the future, with the hope that TECH-LONG can provide automation solutions for more IKEA products. Together, TECH-LONG and IKEA will pave the way for a new era of intelligent manufacturing, seizing opportunities to achieve a bright and promising future.
Strong points of robots:
● High speed and large capacity;
● Two robots cooperate to fit 16 small photo frames per minute;
● High accuracy to greatly improve acceptability of products;
● Improve working conditions of workers and relieve them from strenuous manual operations with many potential safety hazards;
● Strong reliability & short investment return period.
● It was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in Sweden in 1943;
● IKEA now has become the world largest retailer of furniture and home supplies. It mainly sells chairs/sofas, office supplies, bedroom furniture, kitchen wares, lighting, textiles, cooking utensils, storage utensils and children’s products, totaling about 10,000 products;
● Its annual revenue amounts to EUR 28.7 billion (approximately RMB 228 billion);
● It opens retail outlets in more than 43 countries and regions throughout the world, with 14 outlets in China.
● It has more than 150,000 employees throughout the world.