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3M Automotive and Esys Automation

Robotic System for Precision Tire and Wheel Balancing

Wheel balancing has always been a costly bottleneck in auto assembly plants. Weights were manually applied with operators being required to select from dozens of weights arrayed in bins, and pounding them onto the wheel rim. Balance was not precise and scrappage was high.

Now 3M and Esys Automation have combined to produce a robotically automated balancing system using a proprietary, lead free, conformable, metallic composite material. The weight is cut from a continuously fed roll of material and robotically attached adhesively to two rim locations. Because each piece is cut to specification from one roll of material only one or two part numbers are required instead of as many as 50 or 60 in manual systems. One unit replaces two manually operated stations and the old bins thus reducing the footprint. Both labor expense and cycle time have been reduced. Increased precision, reduced scrappage, and lower cost have resulted in rapid OEM assembly plant and after-market acceptance.