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Custom Machines Case Studies

Custom Machine Builder Creates New Manufacturing Machine to Alleviate Production Line Down Time

EPIC Custom Machines engineered and fabricated a custom machine to meet product demands during scheduled equipment shut downs.

Client: Deodorant Manufacturer
Industry: Personal Care Products

Custom Manufacturing Machine for Consumer Products CompanyKey Engineering Features 

  • Intelligent Stepper Motor – Precise rotational positioning of the fixture head with input/output signals integrated into a centrally located- “brain” of the priming machine
  • Proximity sensors – Indicates fixture head’s home position. A secondary sensor begins the rotation process
  • Binary inputs – Selects the number of fixture head rotations
  • Indicator LED’s – Machine status indicators
  • 120 v single phase Power – For use with standard outlets
  • UHMW drawer – Material for resistance against wear over time

Core Challenges

  • Inorganic shape of the product – Products’ oval shape added difficulty in the design phase
  • Usability – Minimal operator training required to reduce initial downtime
  • Critical project timeline – Due to an upcoming scheduled maintenance, a solution was required quickly to meet short term store demands

Custom Machine DesignFront End Engineering

Front End Engineering (FEE) allowed EPIC engineers to develop an accurate quotation that limited issues during fabrication.  By completing engineering up front, EPIC had a clear understanding of project cost and kept the project on budget. Through FEE, EPIC delivered an equipment list and completed a conceptual design and 3D model to arrive at a fixed price bid for the entire project.

EPIC’s Proven Solution

Picture a doctor’s office with a nurse holding a syringe primed for a shot. They point the syringe upward, and plunge it until fluid squirts out of the needle. Why do they go through this procedure?  This is an important step to make sure all air is removed from the syringe.

In deodorant manufacturing, there is a machine on the production line that primes the deodorant stick to remove air for the initial application of the gel. The machine that performs this operation on a production line has periodic scheduled maintenance.

When the machine is offline, production must continue to meet demand. The deodorant manufacturer needed a solution to continue production while the machine was down or under maintenance.

The client was faced with a manual or automated decision. Without a custom machine, they could add labor and manually prime each stick by turning the twist nob a specific number of revolutions. This solution was deemed too costly, with an added risk of product inconsistency.

The deodorant manufacturer contacted EPIC to engineer a solution that would increase product consistency and efficiency. After front end engineering, EPIC’s custom machine builder team developed detailed 3D drawings and began procuring the necessary componentry.

Component selection was vitally important to the success of this project. EPIC’s engineers had to strike a balance between usability, functionality, and cost. The system had to be simple for an operator to learn and operate. It also needed consistency in the revolutions it was preforming. EPIC’s custom machine builders integrated an intelligent stepper motor to complete these objectives.

Intelligent stepper motors contain a small programmable computer that controls a limited number of input/output components. The motor is required to control two position sensors, a binary selector switch, and two LED indicators. These components are wired directly to the stepper motors input/output terminal block.

When the signal is received from one of the sensors it initiates a “begin program” command.  The stepper’s computer executes the correct number of rotations. AC and DC motors turn when electricity is delivered, while a stepper turns based on the number of electrical pulses supplied.

EPIC’s team of machine builders fabricated the housing out of 304 stainless steel and wired the machine to interface with 120v single phase.

A UHMW drawer positions the 2 deodorant sticks underneath the stepper motor when inserted. Proximity sensors are mounted to the machine to alert the motor when the drawer has been pushed in completely.  This allows the stepper motor to create the revolutions.

Once the revolutions are complete, a green LED light notifies the operator that the sticks are primed. Red LED lights communicate to the operator a go/ no go signal.  Either the system performed revolutions or the stepper motor is not homed.

The priming machine can accurately complete the required number of revolutions at double the speed of a human operator. Not only can it be more effective than a human priming the deodorant stick, it primes two sticks simultaneously. The custom machine makes the process 200% more efficient than a human priming one stick at a time.

 Impact

  • Effective down time solution 200% more efficient than a worker priming a 1 stick at a time
  • Eliminated human error in in the number of revolutions required to prim the stick
  • The machine softened the impact to production during scheduled maintenance
  • Production could continue to meet product demands
  • Money saved by eliminated the need for manual priming

 Why EPIC Custom Machines?

A custom machine design and build firm helps you design, fabricate and integrate the right custom solution that meets your unique need. EPIC believes we can help you “Do It Better” by:

  • Utilizing Front-End Engineering to ensure that the proper steps are taken during project scope development
  • Appointing a single point of direct contact during the entirety of the project
  • Maintaining an open door client policy to promote innovation. We invite clients to visit EPIC’s state of the art facility to experiment with new processes, technologies and techniques that push the limits of traditional engineering.
  • Imparting a transfer of knowledge (not just a basic training) for the machines and equipment we provide

Find a better solution. Contact EPIC to learn more about custom machine design…

 

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