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Picking: Driving efficiencies and quality for automotive supplier

Pick-to-light solution results in improved picking performance and more reliable sensing for automotive components supplier.
By Lorie King Rogers, Associate Editor
October 01, 2011

In today’s competitive industrial manufacturing markets, success is about getting it right as soon as possible. This is especially true in automotive: Suppliers of automotive components require 100% accuracy, high quality, documentation, proper packaging and low cost. 

Orscheln Products, located in Moberly, Mo., has built a reputation as a leading global supplier of motion control systems, which representatives say comes from a continual commitment to manufacturing quality, leading-edge products and exceptional service. The company’s product line includes parking brake systems, control cables, fluid-level indicators, throttle controls and shifters.

Many of the assemblies are complex and change constantly, and the company understands that the basis for a competitive product is the ability to assemble it in the correct sequence and keep the labor and any rework to a minimum.

So, when the company went looking to improve productivity and replace an older, unreliable and cumbersome system with a new one, it insisted on a solution that would simplify the process without putting additional constraints or hardships on its assemblers. Choosing a proven assembly method that provides answers to all of the industry’s strict requirements, Orscheln installed a unique pick-to-light (Banner Engineering) solution.

The pick-to-light system gives the operation total flexibility to control and adjust the pick sequence as requirements change.  With a built-in sensor for a no-touch, simple and fast way to acknowledge the pick, the embedded photoelectric sensor allows the light to operate without touch.

The system’s indicator lights are positioned over the bins.  The sensor is triggered when the operator reaches into the bin for a part.  When it’s removed, the sensor registers the pick. It’s the in/out action of the operator that triggers the sensor and acknowledges the completion of the task.

Orscheln has achieved improved productivity from enhanced picking performance and more reliable sensing. The pick-to-light solution has reduced errors and improved overall machine operations and flow.  Orscheln also benefited from the ability to scale the system for different parts and bin sizes and number of parts at each station to allow each station to be unique to the application. 

As a result of the significant improvement in productivity, Orscheln plans to implement additional pick-to-light systems in the future.

About the Author

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Lorie King Rogers
Associate Editor

Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.


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