Application of Interest
Automotive Industry – Sensor Housing Ball Plug - SCHMIDT® Application 4265
SCHMIDT® Technology was asked to design a cost effective press station to feed and insert a 1.6 mm plastic ball to plug a bore in a plastic housing. The main objectives were to minimize part handling because of the size of the ball and location to which it was to be inserted and to provide verification that the ball was seated to the proper depth with sufficient retention so that it would not fall out.
Based on the force requirements, the required cycle rate and the type of operation, a Schmidt Nr. 20 Direct Acting Air Press with PRC-50D-1 control was selected for the ball insertion. A lower nesting fixture was designed to locate the housing, accept the fed ball, verify ball presence, set the final insertion depth and mechanically protect a low force (50 lb) capacity load cell. This load cell and an externally mounted positioning sensor were integrated to a PM9310 monitoring system to provide force/distance feedback and quality monitoring.
For the operation, the operator pre-loads a quantity of balls through a funnel and into a tube, where they will be held until the press is actuated. A housing is then loaded over a locating post that aligns the insertion point with the insertion tool. With the housing loaded, the operator actuates the system via the PRC-50 two-hand cycle initiation device. Upon actuation, a sensor in the nest tool verifies that a ball has been properly loaded and if so, the press ram extends allowing the upper tooling to contact and support the opposing side of the housing. At this point, springs in the nest are compressed, allowing the pre-fed ball to be inserted up into the housing bore, with the final pressing distance being set from the top of the insertion point. When the press ram retracts, a new ball is escaped into the tooling and the quality monitoring system verifies if the operation met the customer’s quality criteria.
This system eliminated manual placement of the ball into a tight location and provide process control over the operation, meeting both customer requirements. In addition, the system can be easily upgraded with an automatic ball feeding device if production rates increase.
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