The latest achievement of Vorster company based in Zduńska Wola is an automatic sewing line of driver’s airbag panels. The machinery is made of components made by Brother, a manufacturer of modern industrial machines. Well-known home and office printers are only a small part of a wide range of products manufactured by the company.
The bag itself is bade of a thin, nylon fabric, a gas generator that inflates it within 1ms upon a collision, and plastic elements.
The process of sewing airbags is complicated, and the fabrics used are much thicker, tougher and more durable than those used in the textile industry. At the same time, the machine has to sew through multiple layers of such fabric. Everything is controlled and manufactured with the highest precision, therefore the industrial machines are expected to be reliable and durable and perform faultless operations in continuous use.
It is not easy to meet these requirements, which is why Vorster has chosen Brother®.
This line, apart from sewing machines, also includes two SCARA robots (the acronym stands for Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm). These robots, despite the limited field of action, have incredible precision, accuracy and speed, so they can perform their tasks perfectly.
The combination of two industrial sewing machines and robots resulted in a fully automated sewing line. The air bag fabric is cut to the proper shapes and sewn, internally and externally, to properly join the two sides. Such a solution is a significant step towards sewing automation.
Previous semi-automatic sewing machines contributed to a significant progress in the industry, but still a human operator must perform some repetitive tasks, such as placing the patterns, starting the machine, arranging the tray, and removing the sewn elements. operating that type of machine requires constant presence of a human operator, since without his participation everything will stop. Even if the operations are not complicated, a human mistake can happen. Working on a semi-automatic machine for several hours is tedious, as well.
Undoubtedly, it can be said that automation in the process of industrial sewing is extremely important.
The line developed by Vorster operates independently without operator supervision.
In order to be accurate, sewing patterns are used during the process. The material follows the technological flow and gets to the cutting stage, when the robot will take what is needed at the right time.
Everything happens automatically.
The robot uses pneumatic suction cups to lift two different sewing patterns, which reinforce the opening of the gas supply panel from the generator. They are designed to strengthen the panel in the place where the airbag will exert the greatest breaking forces. The patterns are then placed on the sewing machine’s dowels and the robot moves and places the main panel on top of them.
Here it gets more complicated. The panel is large and can be rolled up, so the robot skillfully moves it to the right place.
Robots and machines are fully automated and every single operation is controlled this way. The controller receives signals from sensors and manages the entire process.
When the set of sewing patterns is in the right place, the machine signals the start of sewing.
The whole sewing process lasts only a few seconds.
This is the first stage of the process, after which the semi-finished product is moved to the sewing section for further reinforcements.
The SCARA robot makes the best use of time. When the machine is sewing, it arranges the next patterns so that they are in the right place. The controller communicates with the sensors and when everything is ready, the second sewing machine starts working, which makes the process run very smoothly.
The ready-made airbag panel leaves the line without any human intervention.
The production line can be further expanded. The line controller can communicate with the warehouse management system, send signals for autonomous lifts, which will take the components themselves from the appropriate warehouse racks and deliver them directly to the sewing machines and then the robots will take the components at the right time for a particular operation.
When the quantity of finished sewn products is in line with the agreed palletisation, a message will be sent to an autonomous trolley, so that it can pick up the sewn elements and transport them to a designated place in the warehouse.
Automation in production processes is the future for modern sewing shops and Vorster is the leader of new solutions in the automotive industry!