A major defense manufacturer in Missouri was having difficulty putting a final coating on their product. The problem? An inconsistency in the output of lead wires produced from raw lead ingots. So they called IBT Industrial Solutions for help.
“We discovered that the issue was actually being caused by inconsistent lubrication,” said David Leffert, a Fluid Power Product Specialist at IBT. “Because they were manually greasing the system, there was always either too much or too little grease.”
As a result, when the 100 lb. raw lead ingots were extruded down into lead wire, the diameters “varied wildly,” Leffert said.
To solve the problem, Leffert worked with peers in 2 other IBT departments—as well as with 4 different IBT partners—to design an entirely custom machine to automatically lubricate the product without manual intervention. Alpha Omega Industries, a partner of IBT’s since 2013, fabricated the final piece of equipment.
“IBT has the ability to design and fabricate a completely customized, turnkey machine for almost any industrial application,” explained Brent Hanson, the Business Group Director for Fluid Power at IBT. “Our capabilities extend way beyond simple hydraulic and pneumatic systems and parts.”
The new IBT custom lubrication machine system uses a Strongarm pneumatic manipulator to pick the 100 lb. ingots, rotate them, and place them into an automatic lubrication system, originally manufactured by Graco (and customized for the customer’s application).
The addition of a gear motor and variable frequency drive, as well as a Logo Logic Module control from Siemens, rounded out the system. Previously, the company used an electric chain hoist and manual lubrication.
Since implementing the new custom lubrication machine, the variance on the diameter of the wire has been reduced to less than .002 in.
“This has reduced a lot of wasted time and product for the manufacturer,” Leffert said. “Overall their production is now much more efficient.”