TRB Demand Calls for Automation Upgrade at GBC

Tapered Roller Bearing Assembly Table

AS THE DEMAND FOR TAPERED ROLLER BEARINGS INCREASED TO NEAR PRODUCTION CAPACITY, General Bearing required a plan to improve its manufacturing output. Each step of our current production operation was reviewed and careful thought given to every aspect from product handling, marking and inspection to the final packaging. Such factors as square footage required for new equipment, ease of machine change-over and trouble-shooting were considered.

To help meet growing demands, General Bearing enlisted the aid of Industrial Controls, Inc. (ICI) based in Bartlett, Illinois. The staff at ICI and GBC reviewed the current operation and agreed on design parameters for upgrades. Equipment was then custom built to meet our manufacturing and quality requirements. State-of-the-art technology and equipment all went into the design. Included were Allen-Bradley programmable logic controllers (PLC) and a Panel View touch-screen operator interface.

For missing and reversed rollers, a vision inspection system from DVT Smart Image Sensors was incorporated. Some in-line features include a noise and vibration analyzer from Bruel & Kjaer, and an automatic bore inspection gauge. All of these operations are controlled and monitored by computer through the use of Rockwell Automation's RSLogix500 software package.

In keeping with our QS-9000/ISO-9001 certification goal of continuous improvement, this equipment has resulted in a 30% to 35% increase in production and a reduction in labor costs. The manufacturing team at General Bearing continues to look forward to the challenges that lie ahead. This latest addition to GBC automation will continue to increase the company's competitiveness in the marketplace as we catapult into the 21st century.