Esys Automation, a leading innovator of full service automation and software solutions for manufacturers, has announced the launch of AutoW8t™ , its patent-pending technology for dispensing, cutting and robotic application of 3M’s new adhesive wheel weight product.
AutoW8t represents a leap forward in tire and wheel assembly technology, dramatically improving the speed, quality and cost of OEM high-speed tire balancing processes. It is designed specifically to apply 3M™ Wheel Weights, a break-through advancement in precision wheel balancing. AutoW8t leverages Kokusai balancing components along with a patent-pending Esys direct drive technology to apply level-wound rolls of 3M™ Wheel Weights in high-speed, high-volume environments with exacting specifications. Together, AutoW8t and 3M have made wheel balancing easier and faster than ever, while reducing inventory and freeing up valuable manufacturing floor space. In addition, the 3M product, unlike traditional industry-standard lead wheel balances, uses lead-free material to lessen environmental impact.
3M is a leader in the production of lead-free wheel weights and the only manufacturer of a composite-based wheel weight system. 3M’s award-winning product, made of a highly flexible polymer composite, can be cut to meet exact weight requirements and fit all wheel diameters. The material is flexible enough to cut with scissors, yet tough enough to withstand rigorous durability, weathering, salt spray and salt fog testing to exceed current OEM standards. 3M Wheel Weights are designed to replace traditional systems that require large inventories of individual parts – from14 to 24 SKUs — down to 1 SKU.
Esys and 3M collaborated over two years, conducting multiple trials of this technology in actual production environments with customers. 3M utilizes AutoW8t at its production facility in Minnesota, and has produced over 3 million pieces to date — an enormous production volume that validates its scalability and performance for the most demanding manufacturing environments.
“We were impressed with the innovative design, quality and sheer simplicity that Esys brought to the table,” said Greg Piserchia, U.S. sales and marketing director, 3M Automotive Division. “Innovation is a core value for 3M, so it’s gratifying to work with a team that exhibits a strong desire to innovate. Esys possesses deep domain expertise and a rock-solid reputation in the automotive industry, making it a natural collaborator for this effort.”
The first machine of its kind, AutoW8t was designed with only three moving parts – creating a virtually maintenance-free, extraordinarily reliable, automated production solution (pictures). OEM trials underscored AutoW8t’s ability to improve balancing technique, when it reduced static-residual imbalance up to 24 percent and couple-residual imbalance up to 31 percent. These impressive quality improvements mean a smoother ride, better gas mileage, and more even, reduced tire wear for vehicle owners.
For assembly plants, AutoW8t, combined with 3M Wheel Weights, delivers a more efficient assembly process with fewer balancer rejects, as well as less rework and parts to track. The AutoW8t launch is underscored with its selection for General Motors Level A Enhancements program. Twenty-one AutoW8t systems will be deployed at four locations in the next two years.
“We’re dedicated to designing, developing, and deploying the most advanced automated systems possible for the transportation-based OEM markets,” said Chris Marcus, Esys CEO. “Bringing that vision to life would not be possible without our 3M relationship. AutoW8t and 3M Wheel Weights will set a new standard of performance for wheel assembly operations across the industry, and I’m very pleased that Esys is a driving force behind that change.”