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Image of a metal bar on a conveyor belt with 3M™ VHB™ Tape having just been applied by a laminator

Automation - Level 3: Fixed Automation

A fixed automation process is mostly automated, with reduced operator interaction. These are often semi-custom processes designed to perform one specific activity with the goal of improving accuracy and speed or reducing the amount of labour required. At this level labor is increasingly difficult to find and correspondingly more expensive.

Fixed Automation for Tape Processes

  • Image of a straight-line laminator
    Automated Straight-Line Laminators

    Full service units designed to apply linear strips of tape to parts such as stiffeners. Besides continuous taping they can be programmed to apply multiple specific lengths of tape at intervals, replicating the operation at high speed with minimal operator involvement.

  • Graphic of a triangle mesh outline on a black background with an icon of a gearwheel at the centre
    Pick and Place Applicators

    Designed to manipulate custom die cut pieces of tape, with the ability to remove liners and provide accurate and replicable placement at production speeds, making operation easier for operators of all skill levels.

  • Image of a pad applicator with a space underneath one end for workpieces to move through
    Pad Applicators

    Automatically feeds, applies and cuts small lengths of pressure sensitive tapes. Width and length of tape are adjustable, and the applicator can be used manually or mounted to an automated machine.

Fixed Automation for Adhesive Processes

  • Image of a roll coater with a feed table and control box
    Roll Coater

    Adhesive is applied between two rollers, the doctor roll and the application roll; the adhesive then coats the application roll and when a part is fed through the adhesive transfers from the application roll to the part. Coating weight can be adjusted by changing the pressure applied to the part while it is fed through the system and by adjusting the distance between the doctor roll and the application roll. Roll coaters come in a variety of widths and have adjustable input thicknesses, and can apply adhesives uniformly or in a pattern.

  • Graphic of a triangle mesh outline on a black background with an icon of a gearwheel at the centre
    Spray Booth

    Often used in high-output applications and can be customized to accommodate most part shapes and sizes. These systems can include x-y tables, robots, conveyor systems and automated spray heads to spray adhesive for even coverage or a specified pattern across a part. A spray booth system minimizes operator involvement and reduces waste.

  • Image of a gantry system with an entry slot and two windows for process visibility
    Gantry System

    Used to apply adhesive to a 2-dimensional surface and can be customized to accommodate different size tables and parts. Generally operates on two or three axes.

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