Assembly unit breast pump

Project: Automatic assembly and testing of pump units
Industry: Medical Industry
Location: Switzerland

Nursing mothers and ROBO•MAT - how does that work, then?

Quite simply: We were able to build an assembly machine for pump units for the company of Medela AG in Baar. Medela is a Swiss company and global leader in the development and manufacture of breast pumps. The steadily increasing number of units could no longer be dealt with by extension of the existing manual assembly.

The machine assembles the centrepiece of each breast pump from eight separate parts: The pump unit. Three different types of unit can be produced using an automatic conversion function via the touch panel.

The individual components are shaken into spiral conveyors and automatically fed via these to the assembly process. Separation is partly via separation modules or via a vacuum system. Alignment before assembly is carried out by an alignment station for individual parts in order to achieve the required high precision. 
Two components consist of silicon and have higher manufacturing tolerances due to this material. In addition, one of these silicon parts is provided with moulded plastic and cast metal superstructure, which under the effect of gravity makes precise assembly of these parts a very demanding affair.

Functional description:
  • Supply of all eight separate parts using spiral conveyor
  • Separation and precise alignment of all parts
  • Exact placement of the separate parts on a rotary indexing table
  • In-line testing of the partially assembled unit with evaluation of the vacuum build-up
  • Screwing in of a threaded pin, screw-in depth +/- 0.1 mm
  • Removal of the finished assembly and placement in IO or NIO container
  • Simple conversion of the system at the press of a button, with only a small guide of a linear conveyor needing to be changed by means of a quick release fastener
  • A clean design, as the production of breast pumps is subject to strict hygiene requirements
  • Compact construction and low noise emissions for good integration into existing assembly hall