Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Factory-The Plan

I wish I could say that I have as many bricks and Mindstorms parts as shown in the two videos below. I have far less, so I am going to have to be efficient in mimicking them. I have 4 NXTs, 2 RCXs, loads of sensors, and quite a few PF motors and accessories, lots of pneumatic stuff, and lots of 9V stuff. Every good project starts with a good plan.

Here are just a few ways I plan to be efficient;

1. I will build several cars at the same time.
I don’t want to be limited to building only one car at a time. I will have a continuous stream of cars going through the factory. At each cell, another piece will be added. All cells will work simultaneously and when all cells are complete, the process will cycle to the next car.

2. I will use a single stream to construct the vehicle.
On both of these video, you see grippers picking up assemblies and moving them to a different operation. I will be using a single long conveyor belt. Any construction to the vehicle will be done on that conveyor belt. This will force me to standardize, which will make constructing the whole factory easier.

3. All vehicles will be built on a pallet.
As the vehicle construction happens, each car will be placed on its own pallet or sled to move through the factory. This will mean that each cell will locate the pallet exactly the same way following a standardized system.

4. I will use a common pneumatic compressor.
I will build a large air compressor that powers all pneumatic actuators. This will have a standard pressure switch that will be used to turn the compressor on and off. The switch and motor do not use any control ports of the microprocessors.

5. I will excessively use PF motors and the HiTechnic IRLink.
Not all motions will need to have precise locations. I can use a PF motor much like a pneumatic cylinder. I will use a clutch gear and timing in the program to shift the motor from Point A to Point B.

6. I will use a single pneumatic interlocking pusher system.
In the videos, they show several locations where a motor is connected to a spur gear that drives a pusher down to interlock the Lego pieces. I will use a single air system that will push down at all cells at the same time after all parts are laid in place on all cells. This will use one motor to flip the switch.

7. I will use a single system to lock all pallets in place.
This will more than likely be a pneumatic system. As a pallet arrives at a cell, perfect alignment of all pallets at their cells would impossible. I will create a pneumatic system the will lightly push each pallet exactly into place and hold it while the robots work on the car. This will use one motor to flip the switch.

8. I will use a card system to input car details.
In the videos, the user chooses each car color by pushing a series of buttons. I will be creating some sort of card reader that will tell the factory which colors or details to place. This will use one motor and one sensor.

I think I have prepared a plan that will allow me to build a large factory with four to six cells. I have researched some automated car factories and my system mimics their facilities. I think what you will see if this plan works is an orchestra of moving parts. It’s going to take a pretty good conductor, and I hope I am up to the challenge.

Now the plan is in place, time to build. That’s fun part.

1 comment:

  1. I think you mean 'exclusively' (not excessively).
    Sounds good. Looking forward to design pictures soon.