CHALLENGE

Design an automated assembly system for a 21 foot long 2 inch wide flat wire harness. The harness would have 8 lanes of copper that would all start at the same beginning and terminate at different lengths then a gap then return for another length in the same lane. Each of the 8 lanes would be different in length and number of starts and stops. The pattern of starts and stop would change from product to product.

SOLUTION

Develop a low tension level wound unwind capable of lower than 1lb of tension to not elongate and thin the copper. Design multiple independent feeds that are programmable for intermittently feeding the lanes while cutting and terminating the lanes at various distances from the start of the circuit. Keep a compact design since copper widths were 1/8 inch wide and close together. Control feed lengths and cutting operations to precisely start and stop and re-start copper lanes. Laminate and heat seal the two outer films over the copper lanes for product structure and insulation.

RESULTS

Custom servo driven unwinds with counter balanced dancers were developed to unwind the level wound copper rolls at low tension. Solenoid actuated linkages were used to actuate intermittent clutched feed disks accurately on each lane of copper. Programmable logic was used to program various patterns through actuation of the disk linkages. Intermittent start and stop locations of the copper was able to be done +/- .040” non-accumulative over 21 feet in length to specification. Outer layers of film were heat-sealed and laminated at speed and the overall part was cut to length within spec.