Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services

Fully automated component counting system

30 March 2022 Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services

Remember a time, not so long ago, when it was not unusual to count manually or guess the amount of components on a reel? Many companies thought this a time-consuming and manual labour-intensive ‘necessary evil’. Believe it or not, there are still companies that do not count at all, or they only count what they consider to be important or expensive components.

Counting components and working with a live inventory has many obvious benefits. By using an intelligent component counting system, you can maximise the flow of components to your line and keep them running. But there are many other elements of the counting process:

• Count incoming components to verify you got precisely what you ordered.

• Have traceability from the get-go by using unique identifiers which keep accurate inventory per reel versus part number.

• Improve kitting accuracy and have the confidence of knowing you have the materials in stock.

• Eliminate unnecessary safety stock and special orders for last-minute needs.

In short, a correct inventory management system lets you improve your overall production efficiency with the basic, but often neglected, aspect of component counting.

Why automate the component counting process?

In response to increased customer demand, Nordson DAGE Assure initially developed automatic loading and unloading systems which feed the reels to be counted to the component counter, without the need for an operator at the machine. The operator would simply place the reels into a trolley which they would push into the loader. After counting, they would take the counted reels from the unloader to the warehouse to store them.

Of course, the next logical thought was to automate this process with the help of conveyor belts and to develop a so-called ‘full storage solution’, thus establishing one of the building blocks that make networked production with fully automated material logistics possible.

Seamless warehouse processes with exact inventory knowledge

Visions need excellent partners so that ideas can come to fruition through effective implementation. Nordson works together with the world’s leading storage system manufacturers, which are also focusing on the realisation of a smart factory: “The electronics industry is gaining speed and reliability through fully networked production; a fully integrated logistics solution for the transport and storage of PCBs, components and magazines,” is the unanimous conviction.

The inline component counter Assure Flex completes the automation of material flows within the production environment. The material logistics depend on the material itself and in particular on the number of components that are stored or set up on the pick-and-place machines in order to be able to execute an order fully and on time.

The new inline system from Assure Flex can be seamlessly integrated into the wide product range of leading storage system manufacturers – whether it’s with conveyors, loading and unloading systems, or directly into the warehouse or a dry tower. In all cases, the customer has up-to-date inventory knowledge of every component that leaves the warehouse or is put back into storage. Counting components guarantees continuous inventory monitoring and automatically links the data to the ERP system.

The advanced X-ray component counter is integrated with robust and well-documented software interfaces and via an integrated conveyor belt, so that Assure Flex can be implemented in a variety of existing warehouse system solutions. This makes it beneficial for a broad portfolio of storage systems.

Secure inventory knowledge and fully automated material logistics are inseparably linked and form the basic prerequisite for a smart factory.


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