The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of an automated assembly system to form filament in paint-brush knots. Currently this process is largely accomplished by hand. The solution proposed is reached through a formal design approach, including steps such as needs analysis, quality function deployment exercise, product design specification, functional decomposition, concept generation, concept evaluation, strength and dynamic analyses, failure modes and effect analysis, and concept testing. Results from studies performed for handling synthetic and natural filaments used to design and refine the system are presented in this paper. The system described in this paper uses in-process measurement sensors to determine the location of the assembly components prior to the assembly operations. Preliminary prototypes of the subsystems developed so far indicate that required production rates can be achieved at the desired quality.

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