Metex Airbag Filter
Case: Our customer had an issue, volumes for their customers automotive airbag diffuser were growing exponentially as cars were transitioning from single driver air bags, to driver & passenger air bags and finally to driver, passenger and side curtain airbags. Read more
The customer was initially making the component manually & semi-automatically in Mexico. They quickly realized that scaling up production in Mexico would require additional equipment, floor space and additional labor not to mention ongoing quality issues. It’s at this point that the customer approached Tri-Power about making a fully automatic machine that address all their problems and concerns. They also wanted to reduce the manufacturing cost of the component, gain more of the market share and relocate the production site from Mexico to the USA.
Solution: Tri-Power (TPD) designed a unique automated system that address each of the customer’s concerns and contributed additional desirable features as well. The systems has a throughput of 4.5 parts/second and only required a part-time operator to oversee the machine, which freed up 8-10 employees for other tasks. To address quality, the machine inspected each part and directly loaded the customer’s shipping cartons with a precisely known quantity of parts.
Design Challenges: The chief design challenge was that the machine needed to “duplicate” the existing, multi-step, manual process, so the customer did not have to re-validate a new process, saving the time and expense. The existing manufacturing process consisted of: 1) cutting a wire to length, 2) corrugating the wire, 3) wrapping the individual wire around a rectangular paddle, 4) inserting the wrapped bundle of wire into a cylindrical form on a hydraulic press to form a slug, 5) placing the slug atop a thimble shaped housing and pressing the slug into the housing on a second hydraulic press.
Another unique challenge was how to make the slugs and be able to press them into the housing on a rotary indexing machine. We solved this problem by designing the machine with 2 stacked dials. The forming took place on the upper dial and the housings were automatically loaded into a lower dial which transported the housing directly below the forming tool. After the slugs were formed, the next station pressed the slugs through the tooling into the housings.