Surviving today’s global economic slowdown requires that automotive suppliers reduce production costs even as regulatory policy and consumer sentiment demand greater precision and quality in manufacturing.

The natural reflex has been to automate as much production as possible. But that requires an up-front investment many firms are reluctant to make—especially today, when orders are down.

Automation equipment manufacturers can ease the squeeze on their automotive customers by offering pre-engineered automation systems. Arnold Machine, Inc. is taking the lead, now offering pre-engineered full contour shuttle and static position seat trim relaxing ovens for automotive seat manufacturers worldwide.

These pre-engineered designs are cheaper and easier to build while still including the software/hardware compatibilities necessary to meet the industry’s strict manufacturing specifications.

Static position oven models

Pre-engineered static position oven models are ideal for second- and third-row seat assemblies that lack the added contours of first-row driver and passenger seats.

AMI’s static position ovens are designed to straddle most any seat manufacturing line scheme, regardless of whether seat pallets are fixed to conveyors or automated guided vehicles.

Our standard oven models feature two-way double doors. When seat pallets enter the oven out of position, the doors swing inward; they’re designed to send an out-of-position alarm if any part of the seat impacts them. This stops the line so the seat can be repositioned.

The doors open outward, too. That provide easier access to the interior of the oven for maintenance or part replacement.

Infrared lamps supply targeted heat to three standard seat zones: The seatback, biteline and cushion. Non-contact infrared sensors are integrated with the lamps, providing instant temperature feedback to the oven’s PLC. The PLC then dials in temperatures to within the ranges specified in the process recipe.

Heating module centerlines are adjustable from 48” to 60” to accommodate various build pallet designs.

Our standard models come with built-in human-machine interface (HMI) that receives and stores recipes dictating treatment time and temperature. The ovens are compatible with most major automation software/hardware interfaces including Allen-Bradley, Siemens and Omron.

Full contour shuttle oven models

The structural features, HMI and facility hardware/software compatibilities of full contour shuttle models are identical to static position models in almost every way.

However, the infrared heat lamps in these models are oriented differently and fixed to a programmable shuttle.

Ideal for first-row driver and passenger seat pallets, full contour shuttle ovens run recipes that provide more targeted heat to seats with more complicated designs.

The shuttles can move toward and away from the targeted heating zones and feature added adjustability to match the contours of driver and front passenger seats.

Why automate this process?

Suppliers have contended with stiff, wrinkled seat trim for decades. The traditional method of manually relaxing trim using heat guns or steam irons is plagued by potential inconsistency: Neither the equipment nor the operators are as precise as modern automated solutions.

If there’s ever a time to invest in systems that reduce the risk of wasting costly materials and causing rework, it’s now.

A shining example of what a pre-engineered automated seat trim relaxing oven can do is the model Arnold Machine provided for a seat manufacturer near Louisville, Kentucky. The system more reliably and safely does what four human operators used to do with heat guns and steam irons. The pre-engineered model was more economical in cost, faster to build and easier to deliver and install.

Are you considering automating the seat trim finishing process for the first time? Or, are you interested in replacing an existing automated system that no longer meets your needs?

Consider partnering with Arnold Machine, Inc. Our development of pre-engineered models for fast delivery is backed by over 25 years of experience designing and building custom equipment that increased quality, reliability and cost savings for major manufacturers.

To discuss whether a pre-engineered seat trim relaxing oven or a custom model makes more sense for your facility, contact us today.

Or, if you’re ready for a quote, request one here.