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A Sticky Situation

The Challenge

Hand-jarring precious metallic paste was inefficient and prone to waste.

Our client faced critical challenges with manually jarring a highly viscous paste filled with precious metals. This method was not only inefficient but also resulted in significant material loss. Given the high value and unique properties of this paste, the client sought to automate the process to improve precision and reduce waste.

We began by testing several commercially available precision pumping systems, including progressive cavity pumps and peristaltic pumps. However, these systems proved unsuitable due to their complex and time-consuming cleanup requirements, and they failed to meet the client’s stringent requirements for dispensing precision and speed of disassembly.

Drawing inspiration from a simple ketchup bottle, we explored a press-out system with a gasket. After many iterations, this approach led to a solution that achieved a remarkable ±1g accuracy.

CAD of a prototype of the custom paste dispensing system with a press-out mechanism.
A prototype of the custom paste dispensing system with a press-out mechanism.
A prototype of the custom paste dispensing system with a press-out mechanism.

Early CAD design and prototype of the custom paste dispensing system with a press-out mechanism.

Crucially, our system ensured 100% recoverability of the precious metal paste and allowed all components to be easily cleanable with acetone, preventing cross-contamination. After extensive development, we delivered an accurate, robust, and easy-to-clean system with minimal material loss, significantly enhancing the client’s production efficiency.

Clean Sweep Innovation

The Solution

Revolutionary design meets rapid, hassle-free maintenance.

Responding to the client’s needs, Zaic Design engineered a custom paste dispensing machine tailored to handle the unique challenges posed by the viscous metallic paste. The newly developed system featured a revolutionary design that allowed for complete teardown in under two minutes, significantly streamlining the cleaning process between batches.

Our solution incorporated:

Precision Metering Controls: Ensuring each dispense was accurate to the gram, preserving valuable materials and maintaining stringent quality standards.

Robotics: Automating the handling and dispensing processes to reduce human error and increase repeatability.

Custom-Engineered Components: Designed to interact seamlessly with the high-viscosity paste, reducing clogs and mechanical wear.

This development led to a larger version of the machine that could also fill syringes with the same ±1g accuracy. The unit could easily switch from jarring to syringe filling, thanks to a telescoping lift mechanism.

The precious metallic paste dispenser 'Jar Filling' mode. An operators hand is ready over some buttons on a control panel.
The precious metallic paste dispenser, telescoped, and in the middle of a rotation as it transforms to 'Syringe Filling' mode.
The precious metallic paste dispenser, telescoped, but with its angle of rotation in 'Syringe Filling' mode.
A macro photograph of the precious metallic paste dispenser in 'Syringe Filling' mode with a syringe actively being filled with paste.

The larger version of the design, with automatic controls, telescopes, flips, and lowers, enabling efficient transition from jarring to syringe filling.

Click here for a short video of the jarring mode in action.

The solution has proven both scaleable and adaptable to our client’s needs. We delivered one unit to a facility in Romania and another is currently being built for a facility in Pennsylvania.

From Bottleneck to Benchmark

The Outcome

Transforming inefficiency into industry-leading precision and speed.

The impact of the custom-designed dispensing system was profound:

Cycle Time: The dispensing process saw a 500% improvement in speed, drastically reducing cycle times and increasing production capacity.

Material Savings: Material loss was cut by 67%, representing significant cost savings given the high value of the metallic paste.

Operational Efficiency: The ease and speed of cleaning reduced downtime between batches, further enhancing productivity.

Automating the jarring process sped up production, minimized material loss, and maximized yield. The client’s operations were transformed, allowing them to meet their production goals with greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Jar Filling Mode – Improvements

The Art of Accuracy

Client Testimonial

Precision-engineered solutions enhancing every aspect of production.

“Our jar filling speed improved by 500%, and process loss is down 67% compared to filling by hand. The transition from manual to automated filling has revolutionized our production line,” our client noted.

In syringe filling mode, the system improved cycle time from 6 hours to just 2 hours per batch by reducing manual steps, including setup assembly, filling, and disassembly/cleaning, achieving an overall 67% reduction in cycle time. Additionally, scrap reduction from an estimated 900g to just 50g per batch led to significant cost savings.

Filled syringes standing on end on a table.

Achieving accuracy and repeatability was critical for our client.

Syringe Filling Mode – Improvements

The new system exceeded our client’s requirements, delivering enhanced efficiency, reduced waste, and greater overall productivity.

Our dedication to innovation and excellence makes Zaic Design a strategic partner for companies aiming to transform their manufacturing capabilities and gain a competitive edge in the global market.

Optimize your manufacturing processes with custom automation solutions tailored to meet the unique challenges of your industry.

Schedule your free consultation today and take the first step towards transforming your production capabilities.

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