At its Houston, Texas operation, part of Toshiba's assembly process involves inserting rotor shafts into heavy motor frames. This was a difficult process, involving jib cranes and "man handling" the rotors, which weigh from 1,500 to 3,000 pounds. If the rotor was improperly aligned, there was potential for of damage to either the inside of the stator or the shafts themselves.
Once the rotor was hoisted into place, operators had to push them into place manually, a difficult process that helped increase the chances of damage or an injury. No standard handling equipment was feasible for this application, so the company turned to Cisco-Eagle for assistance.
An inserter that eliminates the manual and jib handling of these extremely heavy (and expensive) components was developed. In the new process, Toshiba can insert the large rotor bodies into the frame with far less manual involvement.
During the process, the operator places a rotor on two V-blocks using an overhead crane to keep it well-supported. The frame is leveled automatically using data stored in the inserter machine's computer, and then automatically driven over the rotor.
Toshiba estimates that the machine will achieve full return on investment within 12 months, given the elimination of issues with damage and potential injuries.
"This rotor inserter machine provides a much safer work environment, needs less operator involvement, and significantly reduces the chances of damaged product," said Toshiba's John Grego.