The automated assembly of the product is probably the most cost effective of all the automated processes in producing a test-strip device. This process includes the coming together of all the raw materials, including dispensed and laminated cards, and upper and lower plastic housings. Undoubtedly the most labor-intensive component of the entire manual or low-volume test-strip manufacturing process is that of cutting the strips and assembling them into a plastic housing. If done by hand, this requires many assemblers and a large amount of manufacturing space in order to produce large quantities of strips. Yields are low because of all of the handling required. Product quality is dependent on visual inspection by the assemblers. Fatigue and inattention can lead to poor quality output.
The automated assembly line generally includes a means by which to supply the process with a continuous supply of pre-dispensed, pre-laminated cards. Upper and lower plastic housings are fed from bulk supply hoppers to vibratory or centrifugal feeder bowls where they are properly oriented and delivered to the assembly process. Since it is assumed that the equipment will be custom designed specific to the product and application, any detailed discussion of the equipment would be inconsequential. It is probably only important to suggest that any such automated assembly system should provide a means for rejecting sections of the raw materials that were identified as reject on upstream equipment, and that the process should include automated vision inspection points as deemed appropriate for the final product. The details of the implementation, the mechanisms for achieving each specific function, and the control architecture for the system are best left up to the designer and builder of the equipment.
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