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Cyanoacrylate Dispenser Solves Production Bottleneck

01 August 1999

It might be just a little bead of adhesive to most people, but to
automotive supplier, Hi-Lex Controls, the accuracy and speed at which it
is dispensed means the difference between a smooth production flow and a
complete log-jam

Hi-Lex Controls supplies manual and power window regulators for domestic
and foreign car manufacturers. During a recent product testing session, a
clicking noise was discovered in one of the power regulator designs. This
assembly contains both 'up' and 'down' cable, positioned in a channel and
secured at the end by a 1/8in-diameter ball that sits in a plastic
housing. The clicking occurred when the cables rotated in their channels
as the window was raised or lowered. The remedy was to secure the balls
in the housings with a drop of cyanoacrylate (CA) adhesive. The
regulators are produced on two lines that run back-to-back for two shifts
per day. One line produces the driver side regulators, the other handles
the assemblies for the passenger side.

The CA application added another step to cable installation, a process
that already involved seven operations. At the cable lacing station,
operators tried squeeze bottles to apply the adhesive but soon
encountered problems. Adhesive application added a five second delay per
part and often too much was applied, extending curing times beyond the
desired 15 minutes maximum. When cure times approached 20 minutes, the
operators resorted to hairdryers to speed things up! As the adhesive
tended to drip from the nozzle of the bottle, there was also a lot of
wastage and spoilage of equipment in the area of the lacing stations.

The solution to these problems was found in EFD's Model 1500XL
air-powered assembly fluid dispenser. This has a microprocessor-based
timer for precise control of air pressure and dispensing time. A 10cc
industrial-grade barrel reservoir, which the operator holds like a pen,
is filled with adhesive and connected to the dispenser by a lightweight,
flexible adapter. A vacuum control eliminates drips, while a special
piston inserted in the barrel keeps fumes from the operator and prevents
adhesive from backing up into the unit. Hi-Lex uses EFD's Teflon-lined
dispensing tips with 0.065in outside diameter, which fit easily into the
small holes in the ball housings. The dispensers make the CA application
much easier, says Hi-Lex manufacturing engineer, Jeff Dyer. Operators
set air pressure at 20psi, the dispense time at 0.4 seconds, adjust the
barrel vacuum control, and they're ready to make deposits. And instead of
filling squeeze bottles all day long, we simply pre-fill the barrels, cap
the tips and ends to prevent curing and use them as needed. No fluid is
wasted. The 1500XL has helped us accomplish two important goals. First,
they provide a precise, repeatable deposit. With smaller dots of
cyanoacrylate, cure time is under ten minutes.

Now the line gets up to speed twice as fast each morning and the curing
rails are only a third to a half full. Second, the dispensers eliminate
waste and allow maximum use of the adhesive. We've increased the number
of parts bonded per bottle of adhesive by 184%, amounting to an annual
saving of more than £8,400.

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