Customized grease dispensing solution for multiple grease types and dispensing volumes

A global leader in automotive driveline technology produces millions of journal crosses each year in a variety of sizes and load ratings to support a wide range of vehicle types, including standard ‘catalog’ designs and customer-specific or vehicle-specific models. Among the many varieties of journal crosses produced by this customer, many are pre-greased, with specific grease requirements based on vehicle size, anticipated duty cycle, and customer preference. The customer had accumulated several dedicated greasing tables over the years, each with a unique greasing setup. They requested the development of a single ‘universal’ grease dispenser table that could accommodate all sizes, grease types, and dispensing volumes.

The first challenge was finding a cost-efficient dispenser that could automatically adjust for dispense volume without using commercially available ‘auto-setting’ dispensers, which were prohibitively expensive for eight dispensers (an eight-channel system). The system also needed to comprehend two grease types feeding a single workstation without mixing them. 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.

Marando designed, developed, and deployed a creative and cost-effective alternative to commercial ‘auto-setting’ dispensers by coupling manual adjusting dispense valves with servo motor and drive mechanics, 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 provided 100% inline quality audit and formed the basis for not requiring skilled workers to qualify a changeover. Thus, we provided the customer with an automated grease dispenser to solve their issues.