Updated: Apr 19, 2019
In today's pro automation world, evaluating new technologies can be dangerous. There is a tendency to move to quickly because of the social assumptions that are associated with automation.
A few years back there was a trend in the printer parts manufacturing industry to switch to Automated Dispensing Systems (ADS) to apply the fuser film grease to HP printer fixing film assemblies.
The application process of the grease to the fixing film cradle is critical to how the HP printer / fuser performs over time. To much or to little grease will cause image defects, paper jams and film tearing.
Popular HP fusers using fixing film assemblies;
RM1-1082 4250 4240 4350 Fuser
CB506-67901 P4014 P4015 P4515 Fuser
RM1-8395 M601 M602 M603 Fuser
RM1-6274 P3010 P3015 Fuser Assy
RM1-3740 M3027 M3035 P3005 Fuser
CF367-67905 M806 M830 Fuser
E6B67-67901 M604 M605 M606 Fuser
The technology was relatively inexpensive and very impressive from a marketing perspective. We brought the manufactures of the Automated Dispensing Systems (ADS) in and took a look at the offerings.
The manufactures of the Automated Dispensing Systems promised, accurate placement, less waste, faster placement and greater consistency, while remaining simple and intuitive to program.
Our engineers performed the due diligence which included a time study and quality analysis. The system worked well and did quickly dispense grease across the fuser's fixing film assembly. It virtually had no waste and was faster then doing it by hand.
However The ADS method was limited on how the grease could be applied. The beaded placement the robot utilized meant that the grease was not getting in all the hot points in the fixing film cradle of the printer fuser.
The manufacture's recommendation was to let the film direct the grease where it needed to go once reinstalled. So we followed their suggestion and performed a quality analysis of multiple fusers using beaded application versus our manual direct method. After a period of 3 months we experienced a higher percentage of paper jams and image quality issues with the ADS dispensed fusers.
In addition the retooling time in between models reduced the time efficiencies hard won by the automation.
Results from our analysis;
Accurate placement- Its extremely accurate within the limitations of the system.
Greater consistency- Yes it can consistency dispense grease within limitations of the system.
Faster placement- Yes however, the retooling between models negated the speed of the system.
Less Waste- Yes, without a doubt.
Simple and intuitive to program- This promise was irrelevant since it failed at the first 2.
While we did not utilize the Automated Dispensing Systems (ADS) this experience led us to make a change to what matter most.
During the due diligence period we discovered to implement a successful ADS program we would have to establish a department to handle the complexity of the system. The departmental approach led use to the introduction of the fixing film assembly specialists. This single change enabled us to focus our resources and investments on improving the placement accuracy and greater consistency.
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