Sunshine Automation and Tooling of Sarasota, Florida

Automated Honeycomb Panel Assembly Machine

This machine was designed and engineered by Sunshine Automation. We have been supporting the lightweight honeycomb panel industry for 30 years with various machines used in the process. These machines stack the sheets, expand/compress bonded sheets, dip blocks into resin baths and aerate them along with special saws designed to run “lights out” to make and shape the core of the laminates.

Composite honeycomb laminated materials are strong lightweight and flame retardant. In commercial use currently, they are found in building structures such as dry room walls, clean room walls, office partitions, truck boxes used for freight and much more. The future holds significant opportunities for the use of these honeycomb laminated materials such as automobile bodies and frames, and much more.

The idea really became popular in aerospace applications. Much of the interior of a commercial aircraft is constructed of high strength, low weight structures including bulkheads, galleys, walls and floors. Exterior structures are also composites.  Typically they would be aluminum honeycomb found in rudders, flaps etc.

The photos and videos on this page are of the flagship system designed to accurately register and place Nomex™, Kevlar™ or Aluminum sheets printed with glue lines 3 feet wide x 13 feet long up to 3000 sheets high with tolerances of .004”.

Automation Design Projects

Purolator® Oil Filter Assembly System

The photo above represents a system that assembles oil filters. The system is designed to run at a rate of 80 parts per minute. The system is broken down into four sections.

The first is the assembly of the element to the ADB (the part designation for a gasket). As the assembled element leaves the assembly station, it is inspected to insure all the elements have an ADB present. If the gasket is missing, then the element is diverted on a recirculating conveyor. This conveyor will store the elements until ten (10) pieces have been accumulated, at which time, these elements will be run through the assembly station again.

The second section of the system is to place a can into a puck. The cans and the pucks are fed into a starwheel assembly. The upper section accepts the can and the lower section accepts the puck. The upper and lower starwheels are separated by a dead plate. As the assembly rotates, the dead plate ends and the can drops into the puck.

Section number three takes the assembled elements and deposits them into a can. This is accomplished much in the same manner as station two. There is a starwheel assembly that consists of an upper starwheel and a lower starwheel. These two starwheels are separated by a dead plate. The assembled element enters the upper starwheel and the can seated in its puck enters the lower starwheel. The starwheel assembly rotates the dead plate ends and the element drops into the can. As the partially assembled filter leaves the station, it is inspected to insure that there is an element in the can. If the element is missing, the can is diverted off line.

Section four takes the partially assembled filter, and places a CBA on top of it. The CBA is fed into the system by the means of an incline conveyor. At this point, the system works much the same as the above two sections. The CBA enters the top starwheel; the partially assembled filter enters the lower starwheel. Again, there is a dead plate that separates the two parts until it is time to mate them together. After the CBA has been deposited on top of the filter, it passes through a compression roller to help seat the two parts together before leaving the assembly center. There is also an inspection of the fine assembly to insure that the CBA is present on the top. If the filter is missing, then this unfinished part is diverted off line.

Transfer Elevator Conveyor/Sorter

The purpose of this conveyor is to transfer parts from one system to another. This particular conveyor took oil filters as they exited from a drying oven off a pedestal and deposited them onto the infeed conveyor of a cartoning and case packing system. This type of transfer conveyor could also be used to remove parts from a puck.

Prima Automotive® Computer Frame Machining System

The purpose of this system is to drill and tap ten separate holes into a die cast frame at the rate of ten frames per minute. These holes were both through and blind. This process involved both vertical and horizontal machining.

This is a twelve station inline continuous motion system as follows:

  • Station #1 Load Frame
  • Station #2 Probe
  • Station #3 Drill (4) Holes
  • Station #4 Tap (4) Holes
  • Station #5 Drill (2) Holes
  • Station #6 Tap (2) Holes
  • Station #7 Gage
  • Station #8 Rotate Frame
  • Station #9 Drill (4) Holes
  • Station #10 Tap (4) Holes
  • Station #11 Gage
  • Station #12 Unload

Raytheon® Base Leg Bolt Machine

The function of this machine is to assemble four leg bolts into an appliance base and load into a carton.

Sequence of Operation:

The operator will prime the two (2) collators with bases and folded cartons. The operator will initiate cycle start. The horizontal axis will index to the base collator. When the transfer unit reaches the base collator, the vertical axis will lower, placing the vacuum cups onto the base at the top of the collator. The vacuum will turn on and the vertical axis will raise upon sensing the vacuum pull. Once at the top of the travel, the transfer unit will then index to the assembly fixture. While in transit, the base collator will deliver another base to the pick up position. When the transfer unit reaches the assembly fixture, the vertical axis will place the base onto the fixture and turn off the vacuum then lift the top of its travel. At this time, the four (4) leg bolts will be fed and driven into the base.

While the leg bolts are being driven, the horizontal axis will index to the folded carton collator and stop. The vertical axis will descend and contact the folded carton at the top of the collator. The transfer system will draw a vacuum on the folded carton and lift it from the collator. Once at the top of the vertical stroke, the transfer system will index to the roller conveyor. As the transfer system is moving to the roller conveyor, the collator will move another folded carton up to the pickup point. When the transfer system reaches the roller conveyor, the vertical axis will lower and deposit the folded carton onto the roller conveyor. The folded carton will be released and the vertical axis will raise to the top of the stroke where it will then index to the assembly fixture.

When the transfer system reaches the assembly fixture, it will lower and draw a vacuum on the base that has just had the four (4) leg bolts assembled to it. The transfer unit will lift the base and deliver it to the awaiting folded carton located on the roller conveyor. After depositing the base on the folded carton, the transfer unit will then repeat the entire sequence after the folded carton and base are released to the assembly.

Sunbeam-Oster Center Module Assembly Machine

The function of the machine is to automatically assemble drive gears and motor to an electric can opener module. This multi-station machine uses conveyors, pick and place cells, auto screw driving unit, auto-loading units, and special positioning equipment. This machine demonstrates the many aspects of automation that Sunshine does well.

We start by taking a drive shaft and a ball gear and orienting same onto a fixture perpendicular to the line of travel. The first station lifts the Center Module up and positions it onto the ball gear and drive shaft on the fixture. Next operation takes a drive gear and places it onto the drive shaft. The drive gears are fed from a bowl feeder down a track to a stop. The drive gear is then picked up, position oriented and placed on the module automatically. Next station adds a snap ring onto the drive shaft to secure the drive gear. Next an intermediate pin is then placed (1) pitch diameter away from the drive gear. Once the intermediate pin is in place, the unit takes an intermediate gear and places it in position. If the intermediate gear does not engage properly, it is rotated until it falls into place. Once the intermediate gear has been placed, the intermediate snap ring is placed to secure the gear. The next station places the first of two contacts into a slot and presses down to secure it.  Another contact is then placed in a slot at a slight angle to the first. The last station screw drives two screws through the manually placed motor onto the module.

This machine is designed to automatically assemble two (2) different styles of modules without any machine changeovers. The machine rate is one assembly every 5.75 seconds.

Sunbeam-Oster Flexible Coupling Machining System

The purpose of this system is to produce finished machined flexible couplings at the rate of 1,050 to 2,000 parts per hour.

The system is an eight station rotary indexing machine as follows:

  • Station #1: Automatically load two couplings into a dual fixtured nest.
  • Station #2:  Probe presence and position of the coupling.
  • Station #3: Drill two #13 (0.185) dia. holes, one in each part, with a two spindle drill head.
  • Station #4: Probe the presence of the tap drilled hole in each part prior to advancing to the tapping station. If either part is missing the drilled hole, neither part will be tapped and both parts will be unloaded as rejects.
  • Station #5: Tap two #12-32 holes, one in each part, utilizing a two spindle lead screw tapping head.
  • Station #6: All good, completed parts will be unloaded by a pneumatic pick and place device and placed into chute.
  • Station #7: All remaining parts will be unloaded into a reject tote pan. The fixture will be checked to assure all parts are removed.
  • Station #8: Idle.

Automatic Injection Mold Unloading System

The function of this system is to remove the finished part from the cavity of the mold. A thread is molded on the outside of the part. This requires the part to be unscrewed in order to remove it from the mold.

There are four (4) parts to be unloaded at the same time. When the mold opens, the unloader descends into the cavity of the mold and locates over the hex portion of the part. Once engaged, the unloader will begin to unscrew the part from the cavity while moving away from the mold at a fixed rate equal to the pitch of the thread. Once the part is clear of the mold, it will fall into four (4) discrete chutes in order to segregate the parts by cavity mold number.

Eyeglass Lens Sorting Machine

Problem:  To build an accumulator capable of storing eyeglass lens blanks in magazines. The machine must be able to load and draw from any position in no sequential order.

Special Considerations:

• Random selection of parts from magazines.

• Controls system capable of interfacing with existing equipment.

• Indexer must rotate at a speed of 90 degrees per second and must have controlled acceleration and deceleration.


To design a programmable rotary indexing system with dual concentric dial plates. Each dial capable of indexing to any position independently.

Equipment Furnished:

• Dual concentric dials with corresponding fixtures.

• Dual servo index controls for independent operation.

Sherwood Medical Indexing/Oscillating System

The purpose of this machine is to provide the base unit for automating the electro-polishing and processing of fifty (50) syringe tips at one time.

The system contains two Camco indexers placed one above the other. These are mounted and assembled to a central oscillating shaft.

The machine this base was designed for, had processing stations later attached. The stations were load, wash, sand blast, wash, acid bath, and unload. The whole system was constructed using surgical grade 316 stainless steel. Sunshine,  Inc. built this system in its clean room due to the nature and requirements of the application.

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Made in the USA

Hours:  Mon - Fri 8am – 5pm

7245 16th Street East , Suite 114

Sarasota, Florida 34243

Phone: (941) 351-6330

Robotics Value Provider using ABB robotics, programming and automation.


Partners with AA Electric.
Partners with AGI.
Supporting Motion Industries products.
Supporting RobotUnits products.
Partnering with Rockwell Automation.
Supporting Swisslogo products.

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