Harwin Connectors in Portsmouth, UK is a leading supplier in the extremely competitive interconnect industry. The variety and flexibility of their product range has been key to their success.

Harwin partnered with Robotas Technologies to overcome their production set up challenges when assembling their super high-mix gecko product range.

Their aims were:

  • Fully flexible process flow allowing any batch size and configuration of connector assembly.
  • Full batch traceability of parts used in the assembly to provide customer warranty.
  • Integration of the assembly instructions with their assembly drawing database.
  • Cost-effective assembly time.
  • No programming time needed for assembly variants.
Harwin Sigma System
Harwin Sigma Connector Assembly

Customer focus

Robotas achieved these goals by implementing a Sigma flow line system, which provided:

The Sigma flow line allowed a single operator to move between a multiple assembly position lines to complete the required action for each product. Each single piece part was delivered directly to the operator along with work guidance. At the same time the required assembly drawing was called from the drawing library to be displayed to the operator.

Each assembly position used one instance of Sigma software to control the part dispensing and provide the work instruction to the operator. All the material batches stored in the station were monitored by the Sigma system and logged. At the end of each build all part and batch information was sent to Harwins ERP system. 

As a function of the Sigma assembly software, any type of production document or data can be attached to a process step. This feature allowed the connector assembly drawing to be recalled from the drawing library to be available to the assembly operator on production without the need for a separate drawing or program to be created.

As the Sigma flow line is completely flexible and no setup of material or programming time was required, the cycle time for one piece is the same as a batch run, meeting the production cost targets set by Harwin.

Harwin Sigma Assembly Station

Sigma software step by step methodology allows groups of steps to be pulled together to form sub-assemblies. Using this feature, the production process of all product variants could be broken down into a combination of sub-assembly stages. By combining this feature with the part number structure from Harwin a self-generating assembly program was created.  This clever feature meant that no programming or product variants were required by Harwin. Thus eliminating production engineering time for new customer orders.

The results

The level of flexibility, efficiency and traceability achieved by this Sigma assembly line allows Harwin to offer a unique service to its customers. This is also whilst still delivering a high-quality yet cost-effective product to the market.