Request: A global leader in automotive driveline technology produces millions of journal crosses each year in a variety of sizes & load ratings to support a wide range of vehicle types. Some models are standard ‘catalog’ designs while others are customer specific or vehicle specific. Among the many varieties of journal crosses produced by this customer, many are pre-greased. Among those, some require Grease-A and others require Grease-B. Based on the vehicle size, anticipated duty cycle and/or customer preference, a specific amount of grease will be specified for each greased journal cross. Over the years, the customer had accumulated a number of dedicated greasing tables, each with a unique greasing setup (cross size, grease type and dispensed volume). The request was to develop a single ‘universal’ grease dispenser table that could accommodate all sizes, grease types and dispensing volumes.
Challenges: The first challenge was finding a cost efficient dispenser that could be automatically adjusted for dispense volume. Commercially available ‘auto setting’ dispensers were prohibitively expensive. Considering we needed 8 dispensers (8 channel system) the project would not receive funding if the solution was based on commercially available auto-setting dispensers. The system also needed to comprehend two grease types feeding a single work-station without mixing greases. To improve productivity, an operator should be able to quickly change-over the machine to a new journal p/n without waiting for a quality-tech or setup-person. The system should also perform inline quality audit of injected grease volume to assure compliance with product standards.
Our Solution: Marando designed, developed and deployed a creative & cost effective alternative to commercial ‘auto setting’ dispensers by coupling manual adjusting dispense valves with servo motor & drive mechanics and mounting them on a common rail with integrated manifolding. Marando leveraged 3D printing technology to deploy a cost effective nozzle system with internal porting. Dual greases were accommodated via discrete (A/B) grease circuits with independent reservoirs and dispense valves all plumbed to the central workstation. Individual part nests were ported to receive one grease type or the other (but not both). Inline flow meters provide 100% inline quality audit and form the basis for not requiring skilled workers to qualify a change over. Thus, we were able to provide the customer with an automated grease dispenser to solve their issues.