tuff automation

Inspection and Sequencing Line for Wheel Assemblies by Erica Bacon

wheel assembly system 2.jpg

Recently Tuff Automation designed, built, and installed a conveyor system to transport vehicle sets of wheel assemblies through a final inspection sequencing line.  Besides the conveyor to transport the wheels through the inspection stations, Tuff also provided a de-stacker, escapement, and stacker, as well as the integration and interface with the test and inspection stations on this line.

The assemblies are placed in stacks of 4 to this line, then index to an escapement that releases one stack at a time to the de-stacker, where the assemblies are separated and released one assembly at a time to the test and inspection stations.  After these stations, the assemblies are re-stacked into the stack of 4, then released for transfer to the shipping area. 

With our full range of in-house services and experience, Tuff Automation met all of the project requirements, including mechanical design, fabrication and assembly, electrical design, panel build, and wiring. We also provided the controls engineering and programming required for the integration and data handling of all of the inspection and test stations on this line. 

After the project was successfully installed and in production, Tuff Automation provided the necessary on-site follow-up support, and has also provided remote support through VPN access.

Watch this system in action:

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Tuff Automation is Expanding! by Erica Bacon

Tuff Automation has been providing custom material handling services since 1993. We are unique in that we custom build each order to meet our customer’s exact specifications. Our distinctive products cannot be found in a catalog. We are known for our quick turn-around times and lower prices. Over the last several years, we have been growing exponentially. Our sales have increased by about 35% in the last 5 years, and we expect them to increase by another 40% by 2022!

With growth comes new challenges, such as space and staffing. Due to our growth we have been leasing a second facility. This has allowed us to continue providing quality products to our customers and reach our goals. Although this space has helped, having all of our operations in the same location is ideal. We are happy to announce that we have begun construction on an addition to our main location. The project is set to be completed by October 1, 2017. We are excited about this new addition and the benefits it will offer. Once the construction is finished, we will be able to assemble complete systems on site. The building will feature a 30 foot ceiling which will allow us to build tall lifts on site as well.

So, why has Tuff Automation had so much success? We contribute it to the people working for us. We have been blessed with many caring and talented employees that make sure our customers are satisfied. As we expand, we will look for more talented people to add to our team. This will allow us to continue to provide exemplary service to our clients. We are looking forward to the future as we continue to grow.

Do you have a question or want to know more about our services? Contact us via email at sales@tuffautomation.com or by phone at 616-735-3939.

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When old equipment just isn't cutting it anymore by Erica Bacon

tuff automation cummins engine

Even the best equipment doesn't last forever. Whether your process changes as your business grows, or you've simply used your equipment to the point of breaking down, eventually you're going to need an upgrade. Tuff Automation can help with that.

Engine manufacturer Cummins found themselves in need of just such an upgrade. Their 20-year-old equipment was no longer meeting the task of moving their product.

"[Our equipment] was never upgraded to handle a heavier product," said Cummins Mechanical Engineer Michael McLaughlin.

So they contacted Tuff, and we worked together over a long and changing schedule to design, build, and install brand new equipment

Our design

The sum of what we worked together to create included heavy-duty CDLR with 3.5" diameter rollers, drip pans, custom frames, and guiding. These were much better equipped to move the heavier goods. We also mounted some new CDLR on a lift table the customer provided. In addition to the CDLR, Tuff also built a walkway and railing around the conveyor, mounted spring-loaded steps on the sides of the conveyor, and replaced the sensors on their equipment.

A long and challenging installation schedule

Over the course of four weekends in February, Cummins and Tuff worked together around an extremely demanding production schedule to put the new equipment in place. Tuff Mechanical Engineer Tony Truong traveled to the Cummins facility in New York to work with a team to facilitate the installation.

"Working with Tony Truong was the best part about using Tuff," said McLaughlin. "Not only was he great on the engineering side, offering solutions to all of our requests, he was a one-man installation crew."

Flexibility is the key

Even when brevity is out of the question, efficiency is of utmost importance. Though the circumstances made for a difficult schedule and an ultimately longer project process, Tuff and Cummins both exercised flexibility to ensure a satisfactory product.

At the last minute, Cisco-Eagle finds quick, reliable service to finish off their multi-million dollar project by Erica Bacon

Material handling equipment provider Cisco-Eagle was in the final stages of installing a massive addition to their original equipment for Cargill Meat Solutions, a leading meat processing facility located in Friona, TX, when they realized they needed a blade stop at the last minute. Their deadline was approaching; Cisco-Eagle knew they needed quality equipment and needed it quickly. Pressed for time, Cisco-Eagle needed to be efficient in as many ways as possible. Production, delivery, and integration with the existing Hytrol equipment all had to move quickly. Knowing Hytrol has a tendency for longer lead times, Cisco-Eagle’s Director of Project Management Darrell Griffin contacted Tuff Automation’s sales engineer, Mark Zauel.

“Mark said he could provide equipment in a week, and it would hook up to the existing Hytrol equipment, which would save us considerable time in the field trying to make it fit,” said Griffin.

Tuff Automation Blade Stop
Tuff Automation Blade Stop

This wasn’t the first time Griffin worked with Tuff Automation, so he was confident in his decision to use Tuff Automation. Cisco-Eagle began working with Tuff when they were quoting another integration partner on a different project. While they looked through the pictures the integration partner provided with the quote, they noticed Tuff Automation stickers on some of the equipment in the photographs. After scrutinizing the photographs and hunting down Tuff Automation, Cisco-Eagle was ultimately won over by Tuff’s lower prices and completely custom solutions.

“Tuff doesn’t sell canned solutions,” said Griffin. “Everything is engineered to some extent—everything [Tuff] provides is rated to handle the load of the application.”

That initial impression was followed by years of solutions completely customized to fit their applications, which continually proved Tuff’s reliably fast turnaround and durable product construction. These experiences informed Griffin’s decision to go with Tuff for the blade stop solution.

“We have a lot of faith in [Tuff],” said Griffin.

Tuff Automation delivered the blade stop to Cargill Meat Solutions within a week’s time. The equipment integrated easily with the existing Hytrol conveyors and was durable enough for 110-pound cases of beef it needed to handle.

Quick turnaround, affordable prices, and reliable equipment are of paramount importance for those in the material handling industry, especially at the last minute. For Cisco-Eagle, Tuff Automation was able to provide all of the above, leaving all parties satisfied.