Robotic fueling inventor Jim Hollerback shows Fanuc robot used in his project.
GREEN FUELING: Bay City Inventor Aims For Auto Assembly Line Safety
Green Fueling, Inc., a local firm, has developed a patented autonomous fueling method using robotics that could make the automotive assembly line a safer place.
Safety is enhanced by greatly reducing workers' exposure to fugitive vapors in gasoline First Fill Liquid operations. (Automakers put small amounts of fuel in each vehicle coming off the assembly lines, called First Fill.)
The Green Fueling system uses conventional and industry approved components that meet the global automotive intrinsic codes, such as General Motors" CCRW (Controls, Conveyors, Robotics and Welding).
"The safer system can save time and costs for First Fill of Fluid operations of gasoline without exposing workers to OSHA regulated PEL or other atmosphere breathing of chemical vapors in the workplace," says James A. Hollerback, the inventor.
Previously robots have been used in the automotive industry mostly for painting and welding, and now are being worked into new applications such as this one for fueling.
The new method is cost-justified in less than a model year, according to Hollerback, commenting: "Green Fueling is collaborating with several other companies that have a good record of service in the automotive powertrain and assembly plants in Michigan and elsewhere in North America and the world. "
In 2014 there were over 90 million cars and light trucks manufactured worldwide.
Hollerback is retired after a career at Illinois Tool Works. ITW is the company that developed the Ziploc Bag in Bay City with the help of Dow Chemical and is now owned by S. C. Johnson.
He was a manager and sales leader in the chemical, steel and auto industries in packaging and material handling projects. He helped develop a method of attaching a heat shield to mufflers for Ford's F-150 trucks that were damaging farmer's dry fields. This was a production cost saving for Ford Motor Company.
A faulty gas nozzle at a public Detroit gas station inspired his first patent 26 years ago for an autonomous or robotically operated fueling system. In 2007, a white paper was presented to SAE International (Society of Automotive Engineers) in Detroit.
In 2001, with a financial partner, he demonstrated a pilot program at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) for over three years by robotically refueling multiple buses each night.
The Robosoft system used the computer program systems of the day, but under-performed at 99.6% and needed the attention of engineers. The system was cycled over 25,000 times, pumping millions of gallons of fuel, and was recorded on video.
A web site: www.autonomousfueling.com shows the same family of refueling robots in Europe in action. They are in operation in France, the Netherlands and Germany.
Inquiries are welcome at Green Fueling, Inc; 5231 Parkway Dr; Bay City MI 48706. Phone (989) 450-4818- email: firstname.lastname@example.org-
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at email@example.com)
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