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4 Part Feeding Case Study (Asfahl, 1992) Selector Efficiency
A general criterion for evaluating a mechanical part selector is “efficiency”
which is defined as follows:

efficiency = (4.1)

where FO = output feed rate of correctly orientated parts

FI = total input feed rate

It is possible to calculate the efficiency from experimental data after a
selector system has been designed and fabricated. However, a growing body
of scientific data has made possible the synthesis of efficiencies from
available information on the individual selector mechanism employed by the
system. For each selector mechanism there is a “transition probability
matrix” that reveals the probability that a piece will change to orientation y
when it passes through a selector device when the part is in orientation x
prior to encountering the device.

The most popular mode of selector device is the rejector, which simply
discards an incorrectly oriented piece back into the center of the vibratory
bowl or other hopper. The pure rejector is a devise for which the transition
probability from a given entry state to the rejected state is 100 percent. A
device can be a pure rejector for some entry states and not others. If a
device is a pure rejector for all entry states, it can be call a “total rejector,”
meaning that it rejects every part that encounters it, regardless of
orientation. The concept of “total rejector” is introduced here merely to
clarify the term “pure rejector.” In real automation application, pure rejectors
would have utility; total rejectors would not.

The general case for a part orientation devise recognizes a probability of
transition from any feasible orientation to any feasible orientation, including
the possibility of rejection. Therefore, an n by n + 1 matrix of probabilities is
generated, in which n represents the number of feasible orientations. For
example, a rectangular block has six feasible orientations as shown below.

there are 42 probabilities in a 6 x 7 matrix used to describe completely the general orientation characteristics of a device that orients rectangular blocks. most of the probabilities in the matrix are either zero or one (0 or 100 percent). With most real devices. Now let us consider an example combination of orientation devices and perform probability calculations to determine the distribution of output orientations. Example 1: .Thus.

” the correct orientation. The phase two off-ramp is shown in Table 3. The wiper is only a 90 percent rejector for the “erect crosswise” orientation. just as was indicated in the diagram.” which is still an incorrect orientation.17.1. and has no effect on the other four orientations.Solution : Before proceeding with a quantitative analysis of the probabilities associated with each selector device. The phase one wiper can be seen to be a pure rejector for the “erect lengthwise” orientation. From Table 3.1 to be pure rejector for orientation e and f. . the other 20 percent being rejected from the track. the general characteristics of each selector can be observed in Table 3. The four remaining input orientations are shown by the table to be unaffected by the wiper. the other 10 percent are switched to “flat lengthwise. which has the function of lifting the “flat lengthwise” block to “on-edge lengthwise. an intuitively reasonable characteristic when the table is compare with the diagram in Figure 3.1 it can be seen that the rail is only 80 percent successful in this function. The final device is the phase three inclined rail.


2. with only 5 percent of the input stream appearing in the correct orientation to begin with. Another way to view the selector example is in term of “effectiveness” instead of efficiency. The example of selector system above had a challenging assignment.2 Efficiency vs. Effectiveness A 29. and that the input distribution of those six orientations was very unfavorable. and it is not uncommon at all to observe a large quantity of rejected orientations being tossed back into the bowl for a retry.4. . but remember that the objective in the example was to orient piece parts automatically into a single correct orientation when presented with six possible input orientations. It is fascinating to watch an industrial vibratory bowl at work.4. and most real industrial applications of automatic assembly present similar challenges in part orientation.8 percent efficiency might seem to be little disappointing.

A final consideration may be that the parts selector will overwork the parts.2.4. oscillating and vibrating them and kicking many of them back for retry after retry.3 Part Wear and Damage. The formula is: k  E  E  pk =  1− (4. it is possible to use the system efficiency to calculate the chances that a part will be tossed back k times before reaching an acceptable orientation.2) 4. If the effectiveness is virtually 100 percent.3) 100   100    where pk = = probability that the part will be kick back k times E= efficiency k= number of kickbacks For previous example: . (4.

298  100   100  1  29. and is driven by a geneva mechanism in which the driver has a rotational speed of 30 rpm.8   29. 1992) The automatic assembly machine. whether it be rotary or in-line. To compute the (ideal) production rate of an automatic assembly machine. the number of stations is immaterial. produces a completed assembly every time the machine indexes.147  100   100  10  29.009  100   100  Thus. has 8 stations. Example 2: An automatic assembly machine is of the dial-indexing configuration.8   29. What is the production and throughput time of this machine? Solution: . one needs to know only the indexing cycle time.5 Analysis on Production and Throughput (Asfahl.2.8  p10 =  1− = 0. The automation engineer must decide whether or not this kind of treatment will damage the product. 0  29. 4. is dependent upon the number of stations and the index time. the time required to assemble a given assembly from start to finish.8   29.8  p1 =  1− = 0. regardless the number of stations in the assembly process.8  p2 =  1− = 0. nearly out of hundred parts will be kicked back ten times before achieving an acceptable orientation. but production rate is not. It is true that throughput time.8   29.8  p0 =  1− = 0.209  100   100  2  29.

Multiplying the station success probabilities. The reader may want to check the validity of the ratio of index to dwell time. suppose that each station malfunctions on the average of once every 100 cycles.1 Machine Jamming It is easy to overlook the pitfalls of automation. The result is a drastic reduction in the productivity of the automated assembly machine. let us say that this adjustment and restart process requires a mere ten minutes. So the probability of no malfunction in a given cycle is a product of the chances of no malfunctions at each station during that cycle. of stations = 2s x 8 stations = 16 s 4. Consider an eight-station rotary indexing machine driven by a geneva mechanism in which the index time is three seconds and the dwell time is five seconds. One or more station malfunctions will immediately jam the indexing machine.2. Production time = 1/production rate = 1/30 units/min x 60sec/min = 2s/unit Throughput time = prod. For our example. Therefore. the chance that a given stations will not malfunction in a given cycle is 99% or 0. as can be seen in the following series of calculations.99. Under ideal operating conditions (no malfunctions). this eight-station rotary indexing machine will produce a completed assembly every eight seconds and will achieve a corresponding production rate of 450 units/ hour. requiring an operator to make adjustments to restart the machine.5. Time x no. In more realistic case. every revolution of the driver constitutes one indexing of the assembly machine. If the chances of malfunction is one in 100.9227 . the production rate is 30 units/min. and one of the most notorious examples can result from the setting of automatic multistation assembly machines without due consideration to the potential effects of station malfunction or jamming.In geneva mechanism.998 = 0. a seemingly tolerable rate of work stoppage. But all eight stations must operate without malfunction to produce a completed assembly successfully. 0.

This will consume 9227 × 8sec = 73816sec = 20.000-9227). calculated as 61.8units / hr efficiency = = 0. The predominant cause of assembly station . and the automation engineer should be prepared to deal with the realities of system malfunction and downtime when planning for a new automated assembly machine.863 = 86. out of 10.3% 149.8units / hr 149. 4.33hr for the total of operating time plus malfunction downtime. Such is the world of automation.Therefore.50hr In the other 773 cycles (10. but failed to explain why these malfunctions might occur.83hr The total time to produce the 9227 assemblies is then 20.50hr + 128.137 = 13. at least one station will malfunction and require a 10-minute repair.5.000 machine cycles.33hr The efficiency of the assembly machine would be the ratio of the actual production rate to the ideal production rate.83 = 0.2 Component Quality Control The previous section discussed the disastrous effects of station malfunction in an automatic assembly machine. This will consume 773 ×10 min/ beakdown = 7730 min = 128. But note which figure is the larger! The percent of downtime is 128. with a cycle time of eight seconds per assembly.3% drop in efficiency from introduction of only a slight(one percent) station malfunction rate.2. 9227 assemblies will be produced without malfunction.7% 450units / hr an amazing 86.83hr = 149.33 of the total production time! The production rate has been reduce from the ideal 450 units per hour calculated earlier to 9227units = 61.

20hr In the other 8 cycles (10. Example 3: An in-line automatic transfer and assembly machine has 30 consecutive assembly stations. This will consume 9992 × 8sec = 79936 = 22. 9992 assemblies will be produced with no malfunction with a cycle time of eight seconds per completed assembly. downtime percentage.000-9992). The line is under control of a walking beam with an index time of four seconds and a dwell of 20 seconds. A jam or malfunction requires 10 minutes to correct. production rate and the efficiency.000 cycles.9992 thus. Each station along the line will operate without malfunction with a reliability of 0.99998 = 0.999 when its hopper is supplied with quality components.000 machine cycles.33 hr From here try to calculate the total production time. If tighter specifications can be applied or closer quality control can be exacted upon the components produced to existing specifications. Probability of no station malfunction in a given typical cycle: probability[nostationmalfucntion] = 0. which in turn will precipitate a line jam because there is no provision for in-process assembly storage along the line. Any defective component will cause a station to jam. in 10. at least one station will malfunction and require a 10-minute repair.malfunction is some random variation in the components being assembled— variation of a magnitude that cannot be handled by the assembly machine. Suppose in the example of the previous section that 90 percent of the assembly malfunctions were due to faulty components. Elimination of the component quality problem would then reduce the station malfunction rate from one out of 100 cycles to one out of 10. Such station reliability corresponds roughly to “four sigma” performance. This will consume 8 x 10 min = 80 min = 1. (a) No station malfunction or jamming . the automation engineer may be able to achieve astonishing improvements in assembly machine production rates.

33 hr/114.Assuming no station malfunction or jamming at all.43 = 43% .9704 Prob [a cycle will malfunction] = 1 − 0.02 hr = 0.69hr+49.9704 = 0.0296 Time to produce 9704 assemblies Total time = total successful cycle time + malfunction correction time 24sec 1hr 10 min 1hr = 9704units × × + 296malfucntions × × unit 3600sec malfunction 60 min =64.02hr = 85 unit/hr Percent downtime D = 49.02hr Production rate R = 9702 units/ 114.99930 = 0.33hr = 114. what is the production rate considering station malfunction? What is the percent downtime? What is the throughput time? Solution: Prob [a cycle will not malfunction] = 0. what is the ideal production capability of this line? What is throughput time? Solution: Cycle time TC = 4sec index + 20sec dwell = 24sec Ideal production rate 3600 sc / hr R= = 150unit / hr 24sec/ unit Throughput time TT = 30 station × 24sec/ station = 720sec = 12 min (b) Assuming station malfunction Assuming ideal component quality.

994 Since the system has 30 stations.005) 2 For the situation in which neither of these possibilities occurs we must compute the product of probabilities: Prob[a given station will not jam at a given cycle] = (0. we must compute the product of probabilities that individual stations will not jam to obtain the overall system success probability for a given cycle: Prob [a cycle will not jam] = 0. what is the effect of defective components upon production rate? Solution: We now have two ways that the station can jam: 1.005) = 0.8349 = 0. General station malfunction (reliability = 0. any one of which is capable of bringing down the entire line.995 = 0.999) X Pob[no defective component] = (0. Defective component ( of one percent =0. Throughput time 1 60 min TT = 30 station × × 85units / hr hr =21.18 min (c) Assuming defective part jamming Assuming component lot quality is at the level of 1 2 of one percent defective.999)(1 – 0.99) 1 2.8349 And the probability that the system will jam in a given cycle is the complement: Prob [a cycle will jam] = 1 − 0.999 X 0.1651 Time to produce 8349 assemblies .99430 = 0.

. and bolts to purchase the finest quality available for use in automated assembly. nuts.32 min = 1.24 units/hr Percent downtime D = 275.82hr Production rate R = 8349 units/ 330.24units / hr E= = = 0.82 hr = 0. and throughput time increases from a little over 20 minutes to over an hour.24 units/hr.83 = 83% Efficiency actualproductionrate 25. So important is the quality and uniformity of components to the success of assembly automation that some firms pay several times the standard price for such items as screws.24units / hr hr = 71.16 hr/ 330. increases downtime from 43 percent to 83 percent. Total time = total successfully cycles time + unjam time 24sec 1hr 10 min 1hr = 8349units × × + 1651 jams × × unit 3600sec jam 60 min = 330.17 = 17% idealproductionrate 150units / hr Throughput time 1 60 min TT = 30 stations × × 25.82hr = 25.19hr Thus. a component quality level of only ½ of one percent defectives in this case reduces the production rate from 95 units/hr to 25.