Monday, October 7, 2013

"Manufacturing Day" in the USA.    The Macomb County Economic Development Committee and County Executive Mark A. Hackel chose Fori Automation to showcase the manufacturing strength, growth, and job opportunities in Macomb County Michigan.  

Over the past few years Fori has received many accolades and awards for our diversification efforts, global exporting outside of the USA, and generating new jobs within southeast Michigan.

Click here to view the story

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Autonomous vehicles for moving and locating heavy loads precisely.
Fori’s heavy payload AGV’s are designed and manufactured for applications where conventional AGV solutions cannot meet the requirements. The high voltage (312V) power supply can use any commercially available servo motor and can achieve speeds of 0 to 19.7 in. / 500 mm per second or higher depending on the specific need.
 Not only do the AGV’s move equipment they also facilitate assembly, welding and machining of large components. Tools, dies, ingots, casks, oversized containers, fixtures, vehicles, pallets or any other large component can be moved / lifted of placed with Fori’s custom designed AGV. Capabilities range from 2 tons to over 200 tons, with automatic, manual or remote controls.

Fori developed 12-inch-wide precision magnetic measuring device gauges the intensity of the magnetic field and enables a vehicle to position itself at an assembly station to an accuracy of ± 5 mm, positioning repeatability = +/- 2mm. Each AGV measures 67 inches wide, 181 inches long, and 28 inches high. It supports tooling that, combined with the Center Wing section, weighs about 12,000 pounds. The tooling is transported to 14 process stations and each AGV must hold that tolerance every time it is moved. The Fori AGV is fully maintainable top side down without having to lift the AGV off the ground. At each station, the tool clamps onto pillars built to hold it, so that the tool is held rigidly in order to maintain hole accuracy when being drilled by the autodrills. An AGV comes in beneath the tool and picks it up, then works through safety protocols before moving the tool out of one station and into another. Each time an AGV slides under the tooling, the stanchions release and a cup and cone arrangement clamps the AGV to ensure a secure engagement. This required the navigation, guidance, and propulsion systems to synch, as well as the servomotors in the lifting mechanism.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lockheed Martin Chooses "Right Stuff" for Nect generation Fighter in Fori Automation

How manufacturing the F-35 Lightning II fighter can meet demanding requirements and fly under budget by partnering with Fori Automation and Siemens, using failsafe CPUs, wireless technology and portable HMI solutions. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth-generation, multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability. The F-35 is descended from the X-35, the winner of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)


program. In order to meet the unique requirements for manufacturing the F-35’s Center Wing assembly, Lockheed Martin turned to Michigan-based Fori Automation, a leading equipment designer and systems integrator, to supply specialized automated guided vehicles (AGV) to increase its manufacturing performance and efficiency. At the heart of the AGV design, Fori selected Siemens SIMATIC controllers, SCALANCE wireless and portable HMI solutions for the integrated automation necessary to meet these manufacturing objectives. Lockheed Martin determined to move manufacturing of F-35 J470 Center Wing Assembly from Fort Worth, Texas to Marietta, Georgia, due to capacity constraints at the Texas facility.

Their goal was to move the majority of manufacturing for the F-35 J470 Center Wing Assembly to Marietta by the end of 2011 with the goal of designing a production line that could achieve a rate of one aircraft per day at full production. They were faced with an imminent challenge to this scenario: the Lockheed C-130 Hercules and F-22 Raptor aircraft were already in production at Marietta, so there was limited available floor space at the facility. Further, the production process for the F-35 did not fit into the available footprint within the Marietta facility, so a flexible, automated transport system that conformed to the F-35’s flow line footprint needed to be developed. AGV moves accurately and autonomously. There were five essential requirements for this system: System safety: interlocks were needed to ensure a safe environment for workers and prevent collisions. The Marietta and Fort Worth lines needed to use the same or similar equipment in order to provide for equipment commonality across the two sites. The transport system needed to be highly flexible to accommodate a combination of move scenarios. The system had to be similar to other systems so that maintenance and training were similar to other existing systems. The system had to be robust and reliable. The original concept was to use Fort Worth’s overhead rail layout to move the Center Wing Assembly through the production flow line, but that process required too much floor space, didn’t fit the flow line concept, limited where automated drills could be placed, wasn’t flexible, and limited access to the overhead crane system in the facility. Control System features compact low-profile design with safety integrated. The final solution was found in the automotive sector: automated guided vehicles (AGV). However, the AGVs needed at Marietta would have extremely difficult requirements, including: Moving the Center Wing Assembly Jig Transport Fixture to the flow line’s 16 cells (11 manual processes, 3 auto drills and 2 maintenance) Incorporating the work of three automated drills that make between 2,000 and 3,000 holes every time they are at those stations Integrating seamlessly with the flow line infrastructure Incorporating moving work platforms at each cell Incorporating transfer tooling stanchions for tooling accessories Interfacing with final position floor bushings and locating pins Accommodating the two drawbridges that crossed the facility to provide worker access to both sides of production line Interacting safely with pedestrian and vehicle traffic To produce these next-generation AGVs, Lockheed Martin entrusted Fori to deliver on these requirements, by transforming its existing AGV technology and creating a new one specially designed for Lockheed Martin.
A Fori developed 12-inch-wide precision magnetic measuring device gauges the intensity of the magnetic field and enables a vehicle to position itself at an assembly station to an accuracy of ± 4-5 mm. Each AGV measures 67 inches wide, 181 inches long, and 28 inches high. It supports tooling that, combined with the Center Wing section, weighs about 12,000 pounds. The tooling is transported to 14 process stations and each AGV must hold that tolerance every time it is moved. At each station, the tool clamps onto pillars built to hold it, so that the tool is held rigidly in order to maintain hole accuracy when being drilled by the autodrills. An AGV comes in beneath the tool and picks it up, then works through safety protocols before moving the tool out of one station and into another. Each time an AGV slides under the tooling, the stanchions release and a cup and cone arrangement clamps the AGV to ensure a secure engagement. This required the navigation, guidance, and propulsion systems to synch, as well as the servomotors in the lifting mechanism. Siemens Technology a Key to Success J470 Center Wing Automated Transport System featuring the AGV with the assembly jig transport fixture. Fori turned to Siemens to help solve several problems, including the need for control system space reduction, control system communications improvement, and operations simplification. To reduce space requirements for the control system, Fori specified a Siemens SIMATIC ET200S failsafe CPU. This functional safety integrated device eliminated the need for safety relays, and allowed for a centralized, flexible, and expandable AGV safety system. Further, its compact low-profile design opened up flexible mounting solutions for trays, drawers, and more. For optimum control system communications, Fori specified use of Siemens SCALANCE W wireless modules and SCALENCE X industrial Ethernet switches. These components featured rugged construction ideal for the demanding aerospace manufacturing environment. Siemens “rapid roaming” technology allowed for uninterrupted communications when the AGVs switched between access points. Finally, use of Siemens mobile panel 277 portable HMI simplified operation for Lockheed Martin personnel. The integrated, portable solution permitted consolidation of operator interface devices; its integrated functional safety drove down costs while meeting safety standards. The bottom line: control, safety, configuration, and diagnostics were at hand in a single, compact, ergonomic unit. The use of Active X technology further simplified operation, with a “virtual joystick” provided on operator control screens for touch-based feedback for direction and magnitude. From AGV to MTAV Fori calls its AGVs MTAVs: multitasking autonomous vehicles. The idea is to improve return on investment by increasingly the functionality of the AGVs. “The AGV has to do more than move a single part down the line,” says Paul Meloche, vice president of sales for Fori. For Lockheed Martin, in Marietta, it certainly does.

Fori Automation Reaches Beyond the Auto Insudtry

A local company with its roots firmly planted in the auto industry continues to grow, diversify and evolve. Fori Automation, in Shelby Township, was recently recognized by Macomb County as a “Diversification Leader” for the work the firm doing in the county and around the world. Founded in Shelby Township in 1984 by Arthur Koerner, Fori now has eight locations worldwide, including South Korea, Brazil, Germany, China, India, Mexico and Chattanooga, Tenn. “Shelby Township is where our headquarters is located,” said Mike Beck, vice president of Fori Automation, “We have 180 employees at HQ and 450 worldwide.” With its beginnings in the auto industry, Fori has become wellknown by those in the business. They produce conveyors, end-ofline testing items, stored power systems and welding systems. “Roughly 80 percent of our business is through the auto industry,” said Beck. Right about the time the auto industry bottomed out, 2009 or so, Fori developed a brand new technology that has allowed them to delve into such industries as aerospace, agriculture and recreational vehicles. Through the development of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), Fori has been able to branch out and establish its footing in other areas. “We saw a niche and developed AGVs,” said Beck, “We saw that it could be applied to non-automotive areas.” AGVs are designed to move materials, components or vehicles using a custom-designed navigation system. The patented technology is helping growing fields such as the aerospace industry. “The aerospace industry is now adopting automotive philosophies,” said Beck, “They’re using moving lines to produce more output.” The same is true in the agricultural industry. According to Beck, Fori is working on a power assembly line for Caterpiller so they can produce large electric motors. “We’re using experience from the last 25 years in the auto industry to apply elsewhere,” he said. By diversifying their products, Fori has been able to branch out and expand into new and exciting fields. “We wanted to stay competitive,” said Beck, “We didn’t want to be heavily dependent on the Big 3.” While new jobs are being lined up and talks of expansion swirl, these new industries only make up 20 percent of Fori’s business. The automotive sector still has a huge role in what they do. “The auto industry is our backbone,” said Beck. “Our goal is to get to 30 or 40 percent in the other industries.” Just last year, Fori Automation expanded their Shelby Township facility and are looking to possibly add a new location in the near future. For info on Fori Automation, visit www.foriauto.com

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fori receives Siemens Award

Fori Automation, Inc. developed a solution for Lockheed Martin for moving a large load safely and wirelessly through a Lockheed Martin plant. “The solutions had to be compact, include safety and use wireless roaming communication,” said the spokesman. “The single PLC for safety and process technology used resulted in a 50 percent smaller footprint from the controls. The solution’s Profinet network was quicker to design and debug, yielding a 20 percent reduction in start-up time."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fori AGV's Help build the F35 Fighter Jet

Fori's AGV's help Jet Fighters Fly Off the Line

Fori Deutschland

Die Volkswagen Group of America ist gerade dabei, eine neue Mittelklasse-Limousine auf den US-amerikanischen Markt zu bringen. Das Modell basiert auf dem Fahrwerk des VW411 und wird im neuen modernen Montagewerk von Chattanooga, Tennessee gebaut. Zu diesem Zweck wurde Fori Automation GmbH von der Volkswagen Gruppe in Wolfsburg, Deutschland, beauftragt, eine Reihe von Geräten, Werkzeugen und automatisierten Systemen für das VW-Montagewerk, das in 7 Montagelinien unterteilt ist, zu entwickeln. Fori Automation übernimmt die Konstruktion, die Herstellung und Integration modernster schlüsselfertiger Systeme für spezielle VW-Normen und verwendet Siemens-Steuersysteme, wobei die Normen DIN, EN und ISO sowie die OSHA-Anforderungen und lokalen Vorschriften zur Elektrik eingehalten werden. Obwohl Fori Automation mit den VW-Normen vertraut ist, muss das gesamte Einbausystem bei VW innerhalb kürzester Zeit übergeben werden, wozu ein straffes Management vieler Subunternehmer auf verschiedenen Kontinenten erforderlich ist. Bei den gelieferten Baugruppen handelt es sich um - Türausbau - Türeinbau, automatischer Einbau von Dachdämpfenden Verstärkungen oder DVDs, Neige/Verschiebe-Sonnendacheinbau oder SAD. VIN-Prägung und Laserkennzeichnung, Verkleben, Montage und Einbau, Fensterklebungen, Batterieeinbau, Vorderwagenmontage und Einbau, Radeinbau, Vorder- und Rückbankeinbau, Getriebe-AGV-System und Fahrwerkeinbausystem.