After working in a shop for over 30 years, I have found that following a process when it comes to assembling a machine works the best.
First, it always helps to sit down with the designer and find out what kind of things to watch for, such as customer constraints or hazardous locations etc. It is a must to have a complete print package before you start to assemble. You need to look it over to find the best place to start.
Subassemblies can be built and then installed on the machine later when the longer lead time items come in. Most of the time the parts that come in first will be electrical and small parts for subassemblies; this allows you to assemble and wire without having the rest of the machine.
Next, look for assembles that can be built that won’t have to be disassembled in order to install on the machine. This will help cut down on the time spent on assembly. I also recommend you build the subassemblies with wire labels and air lines marked for faster install. You can adjust slides and set sensors on the bench to save even more time.
Once you have the machine base and table top, look for the best way to route the wires and air-lines and drill holes for tie wrap bases or other mounting plates. Then start installing the subassemblies at the center and work your way out, be sure to tighten all fasteners and check the fit of moving parts.
When all the subassemblies are installed with sensors and air lines ran, it’s time to do the I.O. check out manually then check them through the P.L.C. Once I.O. is complete you can start to de-bug and run the machine.