Universal Instruments
December 2005
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The Polaris Assembly Cell from Universal Instruments is a single-cell station that enables manufacturers to reconfigure the machine according to its changing light mechanical and end-of-line assembly needs.

The cell features a multi-axis Cartesian robot equipped with vision-aided development and squaring for irregular components. This, according to Stan Earley, business development manager for Universal, enables the machine to accommodate and change according to a manufacturer’s needs. “The primary benefit with Polaris is the custom component handling features provided in a standard automation cell that allow a high level of flexibility and adaptability in various processes.”

The supplier says the modular assembly cell can perform multiple functions, including dispensing, pick and place, vision, screw driving, bar code reading and labeling, and bare die attach applications. The cell also features three quick-release, independent tool modules that are said to enable fast and low-cost retooling compared to traditional custom assembly cells.

“A lot of our competitors start from the ground up and make a custom cell for the end user,” Earley says. “The problem with that is, when that particular application is done the tool is essentially useless or costly to reconfigure. With our assembly cells, we’ve had multiple customers go from multiple headed pick and place machines and change them to dispensing heads. Or, they’ve taken a dispensing hot head off and put an optical inspection camera on.”

As part of the Polaris platform, the supplier also offers its Polaris Junior, a modular assembly cell that provides a single process. The cell features more than 20 tool modules and can be configured as a single, double or triple servo axis system. Universal says both the Polaris and Polaris Junior are easy to integrate into an existing assembly line and are simple and low cost to reconfigure.

“The biggest selling point of the tools is that they are a single platform that can be deployed in different applications and have open interfaces,” Earley says. Traditionally used for odd-form electronic component assembly for white goods, the supplier says the cells can be re-deployed for use in non-traditional processes.


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