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It’s all about the processes – the more the better!

As technological advances continue to push the boundaries of manufacturing engineering, modularity and more flexible systems are fast becoming the norm.

Technology is increasing the complexity of engineering challenges while simultaneously simplifying manufacturing operations.

This means that we are getting to build even more exciting machines using an array of cutting-edge technologies.

At KAON, we are currently in the final stages of a machine build that from a technology viewpoint is one of the biggest projects we’ve ever delivered and perfectly demonstrates the rapid changes in the sector.

Due to confidentiality, we cannot name the client we are working for, but we can say that we are doing full end-to-end automation on a production line for assembling a standard inhaler device.

However, it won’t be assembling standard inhaler devices for long. The machine must be able to handle different generations of products, including a new iteration of the inhaler which will be a smart device.

This has involved working with a broad mix of technologies, and our controls engineers have had to program for a remarkable 40 distinct process steps. By any standards, it is a significant piece of automation. As well as the smart device, the machine will be able to handle different generations of products. Building it has stretched our creativity, but it has been good to show that we have the capability.

The 40 process steps involved in this build include the following technologies:

  • Servo Pick & Place with vision guidance
  • 3 x 6 axis robots
  • Multiple vision systems
  • Tray handling at pack out
  • 2 colour pad printing with plasma treatment
  • Laser cutting
  • Ultrasonic welding
  • Spring forming
  • Various feeding systems including vibrator feeders, spring feeders and strip feeders
  • Integrity testing using vision, flow and force checks

For any machine building engineer that is a mouth-watering array of technologies to work with.

The finished machine can assemble the inhaler (which involves fitting it with 10 parts), print the artwork and inspect the finished product at a rate of 30 parts per minute.

That is the beauty of working in manufacturing engineering at the moment, technology is driving the industry to ever more flexible manufacturing systems and challenging our engineering capabilities in the process.

For people who like a challenge, this is a gift that keeps on giving. We are creating solutions for our global clients that will enable them to deploy standardised, cost-effective solutions at all their locations around the world.

We are at a stage now where engineering theory becomes engineering reality in a heartbeat. Use cases are now starting to emerge for the machines we build to be linked directly into business intelligence systems as opposed to just manufacturing systems. This direct feed of better data will make for better business decisions.On a daily basis, we are creatively exploring new possibilities.

If you are excited by the sound of all that, we currently have open positions in Cork and Sligo for engineers who like a challenge.