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LEGO Car Factory (Hermes Reply)

LEGO car factory with 3 modules, assembling cars in pipeline

A streamlined LEGO car factory

This is the second LEGO car factory I design. I developed it in the first half of 2016 and I completed it in June 2016. It is composed by three modules, and can assemble LEGO cars with selectable body and roof among three colors, thus creating 9 possible combinations. This industrial manufacturing model is controlled by a single board, to which the LEGO MINDSTORMS servomotors, R/C servos, and GROVE sensors are attached. The model communicates with a HMI (human-machine interface) developed by the client, Hermes Reply.

What is a pipeline?

Pipelining is a natural concept in everyday life, for example in an assembly line like this. Consider the assembly of a car: in the first module, the robot arm picks and places one of the chassis on the conveyor, then the body is installed and finally the roof. A car on the assembly line can have only one of the three steps done at once:

  1. chassis placement
  2. body assembly
  3. roof assembly

After the car has its chassis placed on the conveyor, it moves on to the next module to get its roof installed, leaving the chassis  module available for the next car. The first car then moves on to roof installation module, the second car to body installation, and a third car begins to have its roof installed. If the factory could build only one car at a time, it would take about 1 minute to build each car. By using the pipeline, the factory outputs subsequent cars every 30 seconds, after the first car is assembled.

Some detail

  • Built with more than 5000 LEGO parts
  • Features a single controller board, and various daisy-chained expanders
  • Features LEGO MINDSTORMS servomotors, RC Hitec servos
  • Features sensors to detect the presence of the car parts in the racks
  • Features RGB LED status lights
  • Accepts orders sent on USB serial port
  • Designed and programmed in the period February-June 2016

Credits and thanks

  • to my dear Lucia, who painstakingly assembled the car subparts, and for bearing with me and our house filled with LEGO (again!)
  • to my friend photographer Francesco Rossi  for borrowing me his precious photo equipment
  • to my brother Alessandro for borrowing me the Canon camera