Bartlett, S., "Suspension Mount Utilizing Robot Flexibility," SAE Technical Paper 2015-01-1371, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-1371.
With the many model variations produced on the same production line because of increasing power train options, fuel efficiency targets, performance and customer demands we saw limitations with our existing suspension mount equipment. Layout options were limited due to guided shifts and transfers. Large supporting frame work took up valuable floor space. Model wheelbase sizes and suspension pallets were limited to the model requirements of the original equipment. We needed an adaptable system to install the engine/front suspension assemblies and the rear suspension assemblies. We found a solution by utilizing the capabilities of 6-axis industrial robots to make the core components of the equipment simpler; many of the functions of a traditional machine can now be accomplished by the robot. We were able to vary install position to optimize handling characteristics and accommodate the model-to-model varieties on the same production line. This streamlining of functions produced many benefits, including safety, capability to install in 6 degrees of freedom (DOF), automatic End Of Arm Tool (EOAT) changes, reduced initial and new model investment, ease of maintenance, reduced power consumption, and the ability to vary the layout to retrofit on existing production lines with minimal construction requirement.