Industry: Kitchen Automation
Product: Fryer for deep frying of snacks
Customer Challenges: Low-volume manufacturing of front display cover as well as technical issues in joining and assembly.
Capabilities Leveraged: Sheet metal fabrication – laser cutting, bending, clinching of fasteners, welding, and buffing
- Manufactured front display cover in quantities as low as 400
- Maintained perpendicularity during welding using a unique fixture
- Reduced notch size generated on mitred corners to less than 1mm
- Eliminated misalignment issue using slots on base plate
Towards the end of last year, a kitchen automation company approached Karkhana.io with a specific set of manufacturing needs that they were unable to solve anywhere else. They had designed and developed a unique fryer that needed a display cover and were facing problems in getting it manufactured as per their exact requirements in order to look attractive to potential restaurant clientele.
In the last 5 years, the kitchen automation industry in India has been growing exponentially as new models of cloud kitchens and quick service restaurants or QSRs are cropping up and taking on traditional and established restaurants. Kitchen automation is a broad definition that encompasses the use of IoT, cooking robots and many other technologies that are being deployed in restaurants. Many startups and MSMEs like Evochef, Robo Chef, Buchuk Labs, Ingen Robotics and Mukunda Foods whose stake was recently picked up by Zomato are building cooking robots that cater to the various needs of cloud kitchens and QSRs. Karkhana.io works with companies like Mukunda Foods and React Labs in order to take care of their many unique manufacturing requirements.
Coming back the client, since they required low-volume manufacturing of their display cover and were facing many technical problems in joining and assembly, when the project was shared with Karkhana.io, the in-house engineers were able to not only analyze and identify the root cause of the problems but also to figure out viable solutions!
Since parts of the display cover are made using sheet metal operations and the client required parts in quantities lesser than 500, many suppliers refused to take on the job. Most suppliers generally refuse low-volume manufacturing as it is not economical and profitable for them. Karkhana.io has a wide network of suppliers across the country with whom they share a long-standing relationship and are able to get parts manufactured in the quantities that the client desired.
A particular portion of the display cover involved assembly. A base plate needed to be joined at the cover using clinch nuts. The base plate as well as the cover had 3 holes which were joined using clinch nuts. The issue was that after the bending operation was completed on the base plate, the position of the 3 holes changed, this in turn led to assembly issues as the holes were now misaligned.
In order to solve this, the solution that was mutually agreed upon was that slots would be used on the base plate instead of holes. Since the cover plate holes could be aligned along the length of the slots, the misalignment issue was completely eliminated.
Trial & error
The operation involved bending the sheet at various positions and the client’s key requirement was that the notch generated on mitred corners be less than 2mm for aesthetic purposes. This meant that the notch on the mitred corner needed to be reduced further.
Karkhana.io was well aware that the notch can be minimized by taking a very small bending radius, however this leads to the generation of wrinkles. By using a trial and error method that involved reducing the bending radius at every attempt, a minimum notch size invisible to the naked eye was achieved and didn’t generate any wrinkles.
A simple idea
The next challenge lay in welding of the rod.
Usually the rod that requires welding is placed perpendicular to one of the surfaces lying on X-Plane. However, there was a constraint from the client that the axis of the hole must be perpendicular to the Z-Plane.
This was a challenging task as maintaining perpendicularity is not possible without using fixtures.
In order to solve this, a fixture was created. The fixture is a plate that lies on the Z-Plane and it contains a hole of the same diameter and at the same level as the hole in the rod. The perpendicularity is then maintained once a solid bar is inserted into both holes. With this fix, welding now becomes an easy task and the requirements of the client are achieved.
By deploying all the above solutions, Karkhana.io was able to manufacture a front display cover that was aesthetically pleasing while solving the assembly and joining requirements!
Looking to revolutionize the culinary arts with kitchen automation?
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