Productivity in the manufacturing industry depends on the combination of many different factors.
However, it is undeniable that machines play a prominent role in the ability of manufacturing businesses to meet market demand and requirements since they are vital in getting work done and accomplishing tasks efficiently.
Now more than ever, the need to invest in manufacturing equipment with useful automation components and capabilities is much higher than ever before, as companies struggle to meet the growing the demand of consumers in many markets around the world. While not all businesses have the means to buy the most high-end machines, there are still ways they can increase efficiency on the production floor, and that is by investing in much simpler equipment but with the right type of common machine components. Going granular and identifying which of these components you need most for your specific application will go a long way into helping you find the machines that will give you the best value for money. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of these components and mechanisms.
Linear Motion Components
Ball screws, linear slides, ball splines, linear stages, and bushings are only a few of the components that make up a linear motion system. In a simple sense, these are units that facilitate the movement of objects in a straight line. Although this might seem like a relatively simple task, many linear motion applications actually require extreme precision and accuracy.
In manufacturing, linear motion systems are used in a wide variety of applications. Laser cutters, for instance, have machining components that need to be translated accurately and precisely along straight lines in order for the workpieces to be cut or machined exactly according to desired dimensions. Computerized numerical control (CNC) machine tools, injection molding machines, and 3D printers have functions that require similarly precise movements in order for them to do their jobs properly.
Another application of linear motion systems is their use in pick-and-place assembly machines, which are typically used in the printed circuit board manufacturing industry. These robotic equipment are used to pick up very small electronic components, which are then placed onto the circuit boards as part of the manufacturing process. This means that the machines need a mechanism that will allow them to accomplish the picking and mounting process in a manner that is most precise and accurate. This is accomplished by leveraging linear motion components.
Rotary Motion Components
Another class of motion components that is usually incorporated into machines are those that facilitate or enable rotary motion. These include the likes of gears, rotary bearings, couplings, rotary shafts, timing pulleys, timing belts, cantilever shafts, sprockets and chains, and rollers and conveyors.
Like linear motion components, rotary motion components are found in a great variety of machines that are commonly used on the production floor. These include robotic arms, conveyor belts, and rotary transfer machines, among many others.
Pneumatic and Hydraulic Components
Simply put, pneumatics is the branch of engineering that harnesses the power of compressed air or compressed inert gases to perform automation tasks. Hydraulics, on the other hand, harnesses the power of liquids.
Pneumatic and hydraulic systems typically comprise parts like compressors, speed or flow valves, tubes, fittings, and actuators. Such systems have been credited for the improved efficiency and productivity of assembly lines through the decades. One great example of the application of pneumatic and hydraulic technologies is the development of the robotic arm, which is able to make the most precise, controlled, and consistent of movements. Such qualities have been a godsend to industries that require rigorous exactitude. These include the likes of the computer and automotive manufacturing industries, where tolerance for human error is usually slim to none.
Pneumatic and hydraulic systems are also used in applications where electric and combustion engines cannot be used for safety reasons.
Sensors and Switches
In general, sensors and switches have been an integral part of the manufacturing industry for years. However, recent technological advancements and increased consumer demand in many markets around the world have afforded these instruments a wider range of applications.
On the production floor, machinery that make use of sensors and switches help streamline various manufacturing processes and procedures. After all, such components allow for better control over the performance and output of manufacturing machines, thus eliminating the need to hire more human workers.
Brushed motors, brushless motors, servo motors, gear motors, and stepper motors are just some of the types of miniature electric motors that are incorporated into manufacturing machinery these days. While these components are typically small in size, they do play a big role when it comes to the performance and efficiency of machines.
Miniature motors and their larger counterparts help provide mechanical energy to numerous types of manufacturing equipment in modern facilities. As a matter of fact, most of the equipment used in manufacturing today have motor-driven components. Such machinery are commonly used in manufacturing processes such as product assembly, handling, and labeling.
As manufacturing businesses are now starting to rely more and more on machines, it’s helpful for anyone who is just starting to dip their toes into the industry to have a little bit more knowledge of how basic and common machine components work. Hopefully, this short guide has given you a good starting point.