Big Belt-Driven Linear Actuators Expand Reach of Pick & Place System

MB Kit Systems has developed linear actuators similar to the one pictured here that can travel more than 125 feet in length.

A custom automation machine builder is pushing the limits of linear motion technology with belt-driven linear actuators from MB Kit Systems that could reach 200 feet in length later this year.

The automation machine company recently retooled its pick and place robots to replace welded, painted steel components with linear actuators made from less costly extruded aluminum profiles that can be integrated with the company’s advanced laser technology.

The MB Kit System linear actuators provided were required to meet an arduous set of specifications and performance standards for this global company.

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Partnership with Rockwell Automation a Win-Win for MB Kit Systems Customers

There can’t be too many U.S. manufacturers who haven’t heard of Rockwell Automation.  The Milwaukee provider of industrial automation and information products employs 22,000 people, with global sales and support capabilities, customers in more than 80 countries and sales of more than $6 billion annually.

The company’s product lines have grown tremendously since its days of supplying automatic starters and switches, circuit breakers, relays and other electric equipment during World War I. Today, Rockwell Automation’s capabilities extend to every aspect of the factory floor, including advanced process controls, design & operations software, drive systems, motion control, motor control centers, safety components and more. With continued growth in factory automation, the industrial automation giant is sure to have a hand in the success of many U.S. and global manufacturers.

However, as extensive as the company’s capabilities are, the full implementation of Rockwell Automation’s solutions oftentimes relies on the expertise and assistance of other suppliers.  That’s where its Encompass Partner Program comes in.

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Ohio and MB Kit Systems: Vital Partners in Aerospace Industry

Ohio holds a special place as the foundation and catalyst for the aerospace industry. It was Dayton, Ohio, that was at the forefront of aerospace development, serving as the Wright Brothers’ home base and research lab. After patenting and growing into one of the first airplane manufacturers, they proved the viability of engine- propelled aircraft. Ohio’s impact on the aerospace industry expanded further throughout the 20th century.

Ohio manufacturing businesses converted to wartime production during WWII, with aerospace businesses and other manufacturers providing much-need parts for military aircraft. In 1941, the precursor to NASA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, established the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory in Cleveland. By locating one of its largest research centers in Ohio, NASA could recruit and develop its  astronauts locally; a total of 25 astronauts hailed from Ohio. This facility is now just one of NASA’s 10 locations in the United States and continues to conduct engine-based research as the John Glenn Research Center.

After Cleveland was chosen as the location for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Research Facility, Ohio quickly became a location for astronauts to be trained and recruited. Aerospace manufacturing expanded in the 1950s, as part supplies and engineering firms grew, keeping Ohio involved in various civilian and military projects. MB Kit Systems continues this tradition by building custom machine frames, specialty enclosures and work platforms for aerospace suppliers and companies.

NASA Glenn Research, home of astronauts

NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio

Beyond the success of NASA in Ohio, the private and public sectors invested heavily in the state. Various research facilities developed in Ohio, including the University of Dayton Research Institute, which allowed cutting edge research to take place and attracted additional companies. Over the years, numerous aerospace testing and production facilities launched in the state, including Orbital Research Inc., Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics. Ohio grew to become an integral part of aerospace production and, to this day, Ohio companies are the largest suppliers to both Airbus and Boeing. 2016 is also a notable year for the NASA Glenn Research Center as this marks the 75th year that they have been innovating within a range of propulsion technologies.

Current Aerospace Industry Impact

The U.S. aerospace and defense industry is poised to add 39,443 jobs in 2016, an increase of about 3.2% and the first job growth in the sector in five years”

The aerospace industry is one of the largest export centers for the United States and estimates place “total aerospace and defense gross exports in 2015 at $143.3 billion”

The estimated impact of the aerospace industry has an $8 billion impact on the Ohio economy. Notably, Wright Patterson Air Force Base has a $5 billion impact on the state economy. NASA Glenn Research Center also contributes $1.3 billion to Ohio’s gross state product. Mike Heil, president of OAI (Ohio Aerospace Initiative), estimates that more than 1,200 Ohio companies are generating $2.13 billion in sales and are employing nearly 130,000 workers for the production of airplane parts. The state’s education system supports the ongoing growth and development of this industry, with the University of Dayton and the University of Cincinnati each maintaining aviation and aerospace research centers, with a total of 10 state universities offer aerospace doctorates.

Custom assemblies for aerospace applications

MB Kit Systems has years of experience successfully collaborating with suppliers and manufacturers in the aerospace industry. Our can design complex machine bases, and assembly equipment meeting exact specifications.

The item Machine Building Kit System enables us to design and build precise mechanical solutions including beltdriven linear actuators, roller conveyors, and safety hard guarding. The versatile and modular aluminum system enables MB Kit Systems to provide solutions that are adaptable to workflow changes.

Take advantage of MB Kit Systems' no-cost engineering services for your next aerospace related project. For a catalog, brochures, or to start your next project, contact our sales support team now!

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item North America makes Linear Motion easy


The demand for linear actuators has grown with the wave of industrial automation, becoming an essential capability for engineers across many industries and applications.

item North America’s engineering team specializes in custom belt-driven linear motion solutions. Many of the 300+ profiles within the item Machine Building Kit System can be utilized for linear actuators, enabling a wide array of linear motion systems to be custom designed. item's linear motion components make it very simple.

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Incorporating Linear Motion into Your Structural Aluminum System

Most manufacturers and machine builders in the United States are familiar with using structural aluminum for simple tables and benches and even enclosures. There are many providers out there who can produce these basic applications.

However, few companies can design and build structural aluminum solutions to include linear motion and support a linear actuator (or multiple linear actuators). As a result, many American manufacturers are led to believe that their only option for these complex applications is to rely on outdated welded steel. But the truth is, using structural aluminum with complex linear actuator-driven processes is becoming more common and is keeping engineering times and costs down for many.

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Industrial Robots & Automation: How to Combine Structural Aluminum with Cartesian Robots for Faster Processes

Regardless of your industry, it’s likely that you’ve considered using industrial robots to improve automation and speed processes within your manufacturing and assembly. Using a Cartesian robot or other industrial robots not only saves time and money, but it allows workers the opportunity to focus on processes where human interaction is needed.

But when you combine industrial robot technology with structural aluminum material, you double the number of improvements you can make to your production and processes. Not sure where to get started? Let us walk you through the process in 3 easy steps.

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