End of Line Automation Lawn Mower Test Stand

August 14, 2023

Project Features:
Lawn Mower Test Stand, End of Line Automation, Automated Test System, Power Equipment Solutions, EOL Test Stands

Operating the end of line automation lawn mower test stand

The Challenge

A power equipment manufacturer needed to upgrade its current manual process to an end of line automation process for its lawn mower test procedures. The current manual test process generated a slow output with inconsistent results. The company wanted an automated test system that provided more reliability, efficiency, and adaptability. It also wanted the capability for testers to adjust the end of line (EOL) test stand to work with different models and test configurations.

The test stand also had to test non-traditional components for lawn mowers. Specifically, these models had a built-in wireless phone charger and a USB port that needed to have its functions verified.

As the project moved forward, the company made significant revisions to its technical requirements. Supply chain issues added another obstacle to meeting the company’s tight completion schedule.

The Solution

ACS designed, built, and commissioned a new EOL test stand able to test three different lawn mower models in a range of configurations. The specialized test stand provides the test flexibility and reliability the company required.

One unique challenge was designing equipment to test the integrated wireless cell phone charger. ACS had to get creative to meet the company’s needs because there was no existing test solution in the market. The ACS team designed a casing, which it manufactured with 3D printing. It used the casing to house commercially bought components that the team integrated into the programmable logic controller (PLC) systems.

ACS engineers designed the PLC to test different configurations reliably. The PLC also provided safety monitoring that halts testing until an identified safety issue is resolved.

The lawn mower test stand was designed to be integrated into the full assembly line. An automated transfer cart would take assembled lawn mowers off the incoming assembly line, check which test stand was available, and deliver the mower to that test stand for testing. Once verified, a second automated transfer cart would return tested lawn mowers to the outgoing assembly line for packaging.

The Outcome

Working with ACS, the manufacturer achieved better reliability, adaptability, and efficiency in their end of line automation test process. The new test stand allowed its users to change parameters and monitor test status throughout the process. The company increased testing throughput and improved quality control of lawn mowers sent to packaging.

The supply chain issues threatened a significant delay in the project. One supplier sent notification of a delay two weeks before scheduled delivery that the ordered components wouldn’t be available for another year. Using its supplier network and negotiation expertise, ACS got the pieces from a combination of alternate suppliers.

ACS delivered and commissioned the new test stand at the manufacturer’s facility on schedule. The team accomplished this despite the stand requiring a redesign due to revised test objectives specified by the company and the supply chain challenges. ACS met the client’s aggressive schedule by being flexible and responsive to their changing requirements, resulting in a test stand that met all their objectives and specifications.

Key Features

  • Designed an end of line automation lawn mower test stand that accommodates three different lawn mower models and a variety of configurations, delivering to the manufacturer with a versatile solution.
  • Provided an innovative, customized solution, using 3D technology, to the challenge of including testing an integrated wireless cell phone.
  • Demonstrated flexibility and skilled negotiation in resolving sudden supply chain challenges and responding to the company’s changing objectives while completing the project on its original aggressive schedule.

ACS Services

  • Designed, built, and commissioned new EOL test stands able to test three different lawn mower models in a range of configurations
  • Integrated lawn mower test stand into full assembly line
  • Performed Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) and Site Acceptance Testing (SAT)