Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Manufacturing Engineering - (M.S.)


Manufacturing Engineering Division

First Advisor

Avraham Harnoy

Second Advisor

Nouri Levy

Third Advisor

E. S. Geskin


This work is dedicated to extend the technology of automated assembly to include small and thin parts, light in weight. As the parts are thin a problem exists in the feeding process and orientation. The objective of project is to overcome this difficulty. The main theme of this thesis is to reduce labor cost and to improve productivity and quality of assembly operations by introducing low cost automation in the companies having discrete manufacturing environment.

An example of assembly involving a thin part has been selected. Two components from an electrical switch assembly are chosen, namely the spring and rivet. Both components are non-magnetic, thin and light in weight, thus use of existing technology is not suitable. Also, considering the type of work and the economic constraints did not justify the use of robot. So an indigenous system has been designed and developed. Major effort was required in design and development of parts presentation system and pick and place mechanism.

The development work included trial and error of design construction and testing of each component of the system, as it has been impossible to predict the behavior of thin material during feeding and orientation. Various parts orienting systems have been compared as a preliminary study to the design. For the purpose of the project, vibrating bowl feeders are selected as they were found suitable for our purpose. Moreover they possess better flexibility for tooling.

A major challenge has been the orientation of the parts inside the vibratory feeder (tooling.) A concept based on air jets was introduced and its implementation required extensive development work. To assemble the spring and rivet, pneumatic pick and place system has been designed. Sophisticated control system was designed to time the movements of valves and cylinders.

A procedure has also been developed for identifying the troubled areas in the production line where automation is required. Various stages involved in the automation procedure are identified and discussed. An action plan is formulated, which will aid manufacturers interested in automating their assembly operation, to select the right technology and implement it.

The main emphasis here is that many companies refrain from automating their assembly lines because of the economic constraints and risk involved in adopting technologies like CIM, FMS, Robots cells etc; in such cases identifying the bottle-neck and automating it i.e. discrete process automation will be the only solution. This fact has been substantiated through this project. The significance of this project is that the task is accomplished by a fluid power system with same high accuracy and repeatability as can be done using a robot. But the cost of the system is much less than that of a robotic system.

Included in

Manufacturing Commons



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