Engineering School Innovations: Wireless Automated Assembly

Sept. 19, 2012
Purdue students develop an automated machine with wireless controls to assemble plastic injection molded Purdue souvenirs.

Project: The Purdue Automated Assembly project team has developed an automated machine to assemble two-piece, customized, plastic injection molded Purdue hammer souvenirs. The machine devised by the team is comprised of a controls cabinet and the assembly machine.  These segments are separate units that communicate wirelessly through a Phoenix Contact 802.11 wireless radio.

Students: Jason Wintz, Ryan Streu, David Burroughs, Mike Harrington, Aaron Burns, Derrick Andrews, George Hinote; Faculty Advisor: Professor Brad Harriger.

The assembly machine is designed to produce a plastic souvenir hammer based on customer input to a human machine interface (HMI).  Users interact with one of two touchscreen HMI devices (one located in the controls cabinet and the other located on the assembly machine).

The customer can choose one of three colors to be applied on the head of the hammer head (black, green, or grey) as well as one of three colors on the hammer handle (gold, blue, or white).  Once the colors are selected, the user submits his order using the submit button. The machine then positions the pneumatic feeders holding the hammer heads and hammer handles so that two pneumatic cylinders can push the hammer handle into the hammer head.  Once the hammer is assembled, a pneumatic robot device retrieves the finished product from the assembly fixture and delivers it to a tray where the customer can take possession of the product safely.

Using Autodesk Inventor CAD modeling software, the team started the project by first designing the hammer head and handle, followed by the design and analysis of the injection mold.  Next, the students designed each piece of the machine from the frame/cart system, fixtures and feeders to the complete layout of each mechanical component, pneumatic device and control module. The students then fabricated and assembled everything according to their designs.

The programming of the project was completed using Phoenix Contact’s PC Worx software and combined several different programming techniques including ladder logic, function block, sequential function charts, and structured text.  

Hardware and Software Used
• Phoenix Contact power Supply
• Phoenix Contact Ethernet switch
• Phoenix Contact 802.11 wireless radio
• Phoenix Contact bus coupler with two 16 channel input and two 16 channel output modules
• Phoenix Contact ILC 150 PLC
• Phoenix Contact safety relay
• Four SMC pneumatic cylinders
• SMC multiport pneumatic valve pack
• PC Worx programming software
• Autodesk Inventor software

Detailed Project Explanation and Assembly Operation

Short Project Overview Video (editors note: Enjoy the Eric Johnson tune that plays in the background.)

Automation World would like to thank Phoenix Contact for bringing this story to our attention.

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