GJD’s products include a line of white-light and infra-red LED illuminators, marketed under the company’s Clarius brand, used principally in security applications. High performance and optimum reliability are essential when considering that many installations are subjected to rigorous weather conditions. All products in the range are IP66 rated and UL listed.
GJD Operations Director John Hale was seeking a way to improve the way that the plastic lens was bonded to the extruded aluminium housing. Previously, a silicone had been applied manually from a 310 ml cartridge. This time-consuming, ergonomically unsatisfactory process also resulted in material waste and clean-ups. Operators’ inclination was to apply excessive silicone to ensure an effective seal, but this was oozing out on both the outside and inside of the assembly when the lens was applied.
Concluding that an automated dispensing system would provide the best solution, Hale visited Intertronics’ Technology Centre to carry out trials with GJD’s assemblies. This resulted in the purchase of a FisnarDispensing Robot with a pneumatic dispensing valve, fed from the cartridge. According to Intertronics, this combination led to substantially improved efficiency and, after 14 months, in the interest of better repeatability, accuracy and production rates, it was decided to further upgrade to the preeflow eco-PEN 600 precision volumetric, positive displacement dispensing pump, which delivered even more accurate volumes.
The eco-PEN offers ±1% dosing accuracy, >99% repeatability and can dispense volume flows of 1.4-16 ml per minute, Intertronics reports. Four months later, a second, similar system with upgraded robot was purchased and installed for a new product line, as well as providing a back-up for the original system. The Fisnar robot is said to combine precision positioning, simple step-by-step programming and compact footprint.
The original and subsequent installations were carried out by Intertronics, which also supplied and integrated the dispensing controllers and requisite tooling and bracketry. Both systems are fitted with preeflow flowplus16 compact inline fluid pressure sensors, providing continuous flow monitoring for guaranteed process assurance.
“It has really helped with consistency: we know we’re going to get the same amount of silicone dispensed and that the product is going to be correct every time,” says Hale. “Our Illuminators carry a five-year warranty, so they have to be able to stand the test of time. Making sure that the silicone is consistently applied is a critical component in our production process. Also, with increased demand, moving from a manual process to an automated one has allowed us to get a lot more through production.”
Hale estimates that material savings in the order of 30% have been achieved since the introduction of automation.