The Hillman Group has spent nearly 50 years providing working solutions in engraving and fastening and excels at anticipating the needs of the market. One area Hillman specializes in is the design and manufacturing of self-contained ID engravers for pets. Hillman has worked together with PBC Linear in this type of application for over 10 years with PBC supplying Simplicity® linear bearings for long-lasting motion control operation. Recently, PBC and Hillman have been collaborating on streamlining their design with an integrated bearing solution to improve on performance, cost and speed to market.
Hillman’s new ID engraver features an eye-catching new look which Hillman wanted to enhance with a new, improved internal design. PBC Linear recommended utilizing their unique in-house machining capabilities to integrate a Simplicity® plain bearing solution directly into a one-piece casting – saving on parts, installation time and reducing play within the assembly to provide improved performance. Simplicity was a perfect choice for the unattended engraver kiosk due to its reliability and proven performance in the field. Simplicity products are self-lubricating and maintenance-free and have been shown to last for years in the worst environments (temperature extremes, high vibration and contamination) without needing a replacement.
The first step in the process was identifying how to improve the initial design. Hillman Group needed a solution that reduced piece count and cost while maintaining long-lasting performance across two axes. In accordance with their Design on a Diet company philosophy, PBC Linear proposed integrating the engraver head casting with their Simplicity Frelon liner to eliminate extra components – decreasing the part count from 10 pieces to a 1 piece design. This also simplified the number of machining vendors Hillman had to use down to one. Next, PBC Linear engineers designed a rapid prototype of the improved casting assembly and sent it along to Hillman Group for testing.
After Hillman approved the prototype, PBC manufacturing engineers set back to work refining the 2nd phase design for mass quantity production; replacing the initial aluminum machined block with an aluminum die cast piece for cost and manufacturing efficiencies. The end result was a one-piece engraver head casting equipped with Simplicity® technology for smooth, multi-axis positioning of the engraver. Once Hillman tested the 3rd phase integrated bearing solution, they commented on its ability to “save on cost through simplified assembly and installation.” Currently Hillman is looking at implementing the collaborative solution in two of their engraver system designs.