Automated Assembly Line Enhances

Production of our 6203 size ball bearings at our ball bearing manufacturing facility in Ningbo has been greatly enhanced with the recent addition of a fully automated assembly line. Untouched by human hands and moving at rates approaching 800 pieces an hour, bearing components are washed, selected, assembled, lubed and tested on an assembly line that rivals any in the industry.

The process starts when the components are loaded up to be fed into the ultrasonic washing machine at the beginning of the line. Even control of the cleaning fluid has been fully automated – it is constantly monitored for proper levels and filtered to exclude particles down to 1 micron.

Cleaned and dried, the components follow the automatic feed systems to the ring matching section. The real key to any precision bearing assembly process lies in proper selection of all components to achieve the correct radial play. Here the rings are measured and grouped and corresponding balls are selected. With these carefully chosen components, the rings are paired and the exact selection and number of balls are inserted.

 

These semi-finished bearings are fed into another ultrasonic washer where they are washed again prior to addition of the ball retainer. This cleaning is slightly different and takes place while the bearings are spinning to insure that all surfaces are cleaned. Retainer parts, that have also been auto fed into the line, are brought together and assembled into the bearing.

At this point we have a fully assembled ball bearing – inner ring, outer ring, balls and retainer, however, several steps remain before we have a finished product. Moving along the automatic feed systems, every piece passes through a de-Gausser, individually, which assures that there is no magnetization of the bearings.

The bearings are washed once again prior to another round of automatic test and measurement for function and conformance to ABEC 1 specifications. On every bearing moving through the line we verify rotation and measure radial play, torque and noise level. Non-conforming parts are rejected and removed from the line at any one of several points in this process.

Ready for the final steps, the bearings move along the feed systems to be lubricated and have closures installed. Lubrication is applied from two sides with dosage control measured in thousandths of a gram. Closures can take the form of rigid shields or any of a variety of rubber seals and will be installed according to specifications. The final step is another round of spinning and noise testing before moving on to the packaging lines.

The successful installation of this stateof-the-art assembly line has been a key factor in winning a number of new customers, each of whom benefits from the productivity and quality enhancement inherent in the system. Not limited to one size, the equipment can handle a range of sizes at the core of our product range. Such productivity enhancements are par for the course as we continue to focus on ever more demandingand high volume applications.