Thank You, KAM!

For the first time, TOA SE attended the Kentucky Association for Manufacturers Conference & Trade Show this week, right here in beautiful Lexington, Kentucky. We got to hear from some remarkable people on a wealth of topics including education, energy and technology, all crtiical components of the manufacturing picture for the Bluegrass.


As an integrator focused on industrial controls and factory automation, Kentucky manufcturing is of paramount importance to us. We relish opportunities such as these to connect with those in our local industry and hear about their concerns and challenges, and how we can evolve and adapt to best serve the Commonwealth.


A big thanks from us to KAM, all the presenters, exhibitors and attendees we had the pleasure of celebrating Kentucky manufacturing with. The future is only looking brighter!


KAM Booth


Frame Delivery AGV System

This Winter, we installed an AGV system to transport forklift frames from the Main Paint Line to the Main Assembly Line at Toyota Industrial Equipment. This project posed a number of challenges, including how to safely load and unload the heavy frame on and off the AGV, as well as routing traffic through shared lanes and across intersections.






To transport such heavy loads, we designed the AGV frame from the ground up, basing the frame design around Toyota Material Handling USA’s L-Cart style AGV. These dual drive units can move in four directions and boast exceptional versatility for the end user. We work closely with TMHU to provide customers a tailored solution for any material handling application. 




For loading the AGV, we designed a docking fixture that the forklift frame easily slides into via a quickly adapted loading bar (also designed by TOA). Once an AGV arrives and stops at the docking station, an operator loads the forklift frame onto the AGV by aligning the bar into the docking fixture, thus straightening and guaranteeing the position of the frame on the AGV. Once set, an air cylinder compresses the docking bar, releasing it from the forklift frame, and the AGV is signaled to leave. Once clear, an air-controlled arm safely raises and returns the bar to the crane operator for re-use.












The loaded AGV continues to a buffer line before traveling outside the Paint Line area into traffic. The AGV stops at an RFID tag, the overhead door is signaled to open, and then traffic lights change from green to red to stop crossing traffic before the AGV proceeds across the aisle. Once the AGV is clear, traffic lights change back to green, allowing traffic to pass.









After a short trip through a single lane, two-way traffic aisle, the loaded AGV pulls into the Unload Station, where an automatic transfer platform extends through the AGV, lifts the frame, then traverses to the other side to lower the frame onto a slat conveyor for pre-assembly. Fencing, light curtains and a safety scanner guard the cell, ensuring nothing except the AGV can enter and exit the cell.












With the forklift frame unloaded, the AGV exits the cell and begins its return trip back to the Paint Line loading queue.





Automation Solutions, Systems Integrator, Lexington KY

TOA SE provides automation solutions as a systems integrator in the Lexington, KY area. We are proud to be a Kentucky integrator serving the Eastern and Midwest United States. We provide Controls, Automation systems, engineering solutions, PLC programming, HMI programming, PC programming, AGV systems, Andon systems, vision systems, robot cells, and more. Let us provide you with engineering solutions for your next project.



Automation Solutions Kentucky

Lexington, KY integrator


Visit us at Automate 2017!

We are happy to announce we’ll be exhibiting at the Automate 2017 trade show at McCormick Place in Chicago, April 3rd – April 6th. Stop by, say hello, and tell us how we can make your production goals a reality.


Piston Rod Pallet Conveyor

DMAX, Ltd. in Moraine, OH requested a new conveyor system to transport piston rod assemblies from bearing install stations to the assembly line where they are loaded into an engine block. We designed all new pallets in-house and used FlexLink brand conveyor for its safety and durability.


The conveyor runs continuously while pneumatic stoppers hold and release pallets as necessary to allow for buffer and indexing along straight sections. At the bearing install station, a Cognex camera snaps a picture through the bottom of the pallet to identify the piston as a left or right part. Once the data is written to the pallet’s RFID tag, the pallet is sent to the diverter, which passes or diverts the pallet to the correct conveyor section accordingly.


Once a piston is taken from the pallet to be loaded in an engine, the empty pallet is automatically sent back home to bearing install where an operator loads a new piston and begins the cycle anew. In addition to the install, the project involved demolition and rigging of existing equipment.