Outboard Motor Assembly System - Midwest Engineered Systems

The Challenge

Incorporating automation into preexisting assembly lines can be a difficult prospect.  However, using an Automatic Guided Cart (AGC) can eliminated the need to design and build complex conveyor systems.  A firm came to us in order to design an assembly process that utilized AGCs in order to index long block engines and outboard motor assemblies from one work station to the next.  The AGC had to follow a defined path and advance into each work station, while communicating with the assembly PLC for a quick and safe transition.

The Solution

MWES provided that firm with 42 AGCs that would navigate a lengthy preexisting motor assembly process, and would have to lift, carry and orientate outboard motors or long block engines throughout the build cycle.  The AGCs would continuously communicate with a central assembly PLC that would track the location and assembly progress of the part.  Extensive safety systems are also utilized by the AGCs when crossing aisles or entering and exiting a work cell.

Key Features:

  • Battery charging stations located along each assembly line, such that each AGC would pass over them during each build cycle loop.
  • A final assembly hot test is performed on the outboard motor by the AGC lowering it into a test tank where it can be full throttle tested with a test prop.
  • Repair areas are used by the AGCs when a unit goes through a test cell and repairs become necessary to the unit in order to proceed with the final assembly.

Impact to the Customer

Using Automatic Guided Carts afforded this firm an improved assembly line throughput with a production rate of 12 jobs per hour with a cycle time in each station of 5 minutes.  Being an autonomous solution allows this firm a safer and more productive assembly process with minimal human intervention.

Midwest Engineered Systems has a wide range of experience of utilizing autonomously guided vehicles (AGV) in assembly line environments.  If you’re looking to improve your assembly line throughput with AGCs, we have the knowledge and experience to make the project a success.

Contact us to learn about how Midwest Engineered Systems can automate even your most complex and challenging operations today!