|Square D Company, of Lincoln Nebraska, came to us with a problem. How to
teach automated machine operators basic troubleshooting skills, in order
to reduce downtime and minimize the need for calling on the maintenance
department for minor machine problems.|
The Lincoln Square D facility is the largest manufacturing plant producing
circuit breakers in the US. While several product lines are highly automated,
many others are made up of a series of dedicated, task or multi-task automated
machines devoted to a particular stage of the process. These machines, often
run by PLCs, assemble, weld, cut, and test subassemblies and total assemblies.
Often run by a single operator, and including pneumatics, hydraulics, cams,
sensors and task-specific tooling, these machines have a tendency to drift
"out of wack" creating out-of-spec parts. Often, the fault is
something simple; a loose fixture element, a bad sensor, a poorly adjusted
pneumatic control valve, a re-positioned limit switch or a multitude of
other small problems.