Quarterly Newsletter 2021: Q3

MJ Engineering

A Quarterly Review

Q3 – 2021

Skip to

Richard’s Roundtable

Corrosion is a major buzzword in Ohio amusement ride inspections today. Is pitting and/or flaking present on your amusement park ride? Well if you are in Ohio or coming to Ohio soon, you better get that resolved before the state inspects your rides. Due to Tyler’s law changes in Ohio, the state has a zero tolerance policy for corrosion on amusement rides…no matter how small an area or obscure it is. If your ride manufacturer cannot respond or refuses to support your ride, we can provide a 3rd party engineering review and opinion on the required cleaning/repair or maintenance that might be required. We can also do ultrasonic thickness testing to determine if your ride is safe to operator or warrants major repair.

Mission: To provide the expertise people depend on to solve complex engineering or machine design problems.


Collaborative Pick and Place Robot


Pick and place robot cells are becoming more and more common in the workplace. As a repercussion of Covid-19 companies are struggling to find enough employees and they are turning to robots.

Collaborative robots seem to be the preference because they are smaller and come with more built-in safety features to allow them to work closely with the operators. The company this cell is for went with a collaborative robot cell to allow the operator to work near the cell.

In an article dropping in late August, we will go into detail about the operation that we helped this company with and much more.

Checking in at mjengineering.com is a great way to stay up to date with pick and place applications and so much more.

Let us help you with your pick and place application – CONTACT US, today!

Depal Cell and Straw Insertion


MJ Engineering has started working with an industrial cleaning product manufacturer. Currently, there are 2 cells being designed for their facility.

The first cell is a collaborative pick and place robot. The robot pictured above picks the bottles off the pallet and places them on the conveyor.

This type of application is on the rise because it is an easy way to repurpose operators to more meaningful tasks.

 These types of tasks are not always straightforward and sometimes require a little extra planning to make sure that everything is running the way we need it to.

Cell number 2 is also a collaborative cell but it has more complications. It is using dual robots to places straws into containers. Getting the straw in proves to be more difficult than expected. However, with help of our 3D printer, we are able to print parts to help make it a smoother process.

We will be posting photos of our designs for the cell and from the 3D printer on the website when we post the article about the cells. Check in to see if the article is up in late August.

Let us help you with your application – CONTACT US, today!

Solving your unique problems with our unique solutions.

3D Printing

MJ Engineering is still running the 3D printers. We have capabilities in both Metal and plastic and can print complex features that are very expensive to machine. On the image to the right we 3d printed the grippers, the funnel, and the pushers up at the top.

We will have more to come on this in portfolio articles that will be posted on the website in weeks to come.

If you have any parts that are costing you a fortune to have machined reach out to us to get your quote for a print today.


Here at MJ Engineering we have started using Flexibowl more and more. Flexibowl is a bowl feeder that allows parts to be easily picked up by a robot.

If you have an application and you are unsure as to whether or not a bowl feeder needs to be used and you want to know more don’t hesitate to reach out to us we can design something that works for you.

New Hire

Zane Brown is a Controls Engineer. He brings 3 years experience in PLC programming, electrical design, and CAD. He is a 2018 graduate of Muskingum University’s Engineering Science program. Outside of work Zane plays soccer with his rec team and at home, his wife Kaitlyn and their two dogs keep him busy.

Depal Cell – Straw Insertion

MJ Engineering has partnered with a commercial cleaning product manufacturer. The result is 2 independent cells. The first is a de-palletizing cell. This particular cell requires an operator who is responsible for putting the pallet of bottles onto a conveyor.

Once on the conveyor, the operator walks around and takes off all of the plastic wraps, and uses a foot pedal to move the pallet into the on-deck position. When the robot is ready the pallet is moved into the unloading zone by the conveyor. Once in position, the robot picks the bottles row by row and places them on a smooth top conveyor where they are transferred one by one onto a conveyor that leads to the fill station. When the robot completes the entire layer it rotates the end of the arm tool and picks up the cardboard tier sheet and disposes it down a gravity ramp and moves on to the next layer. 

While the robot is working on the current pallet the operator can be preparing the next pallet. Once all bottles/layers have been completed the robot will pull the next pallet into position and the process starts anew. 

The 2nd cell is further down the line. The filled bottles come to the straw insertion station where the straws are pushed into the bottlenecks. MJ has a bowl feeder that presents straws 1 by 1 to a rotation table and where collaborative robots pick the straws off of the rotating table and move them into the funnel that aligns the straw with the bottle. Once the straw is dropped we have a pusher that comes down from above and pushes the straw into its locked position and then the bottles are moved out.

This cell features a lot of moving parts. There are multiple 3D printed parts used for all kinds of things of all kinds of different complexities. The dual mirroring collaborative robots feature 3D printed gripper fingers which help grab the straws. The funnels and the centering devices are also 3D printed. The centering device helps us center the bottles and the straw at the same time. Finally, the pushers are also 3D printed and are responsible for setting the straw into the bottle. 

Do you have a project that would require complex parts or complex design? We can handle it. Robotic assembly and palletizing are two of the many areas we can help. Contact us today and let us see if we can help you.

Why Automate?

Automation is beginning to take over facilities all over the world but is automation the right choice for you? When you think about the word automation one of the first things that comes to mind is robotics. However, robotics is just a small part of the ever-changing world of automation. Manufacturers have multiple different options when considering automation. They can choose turn-key robotic integration, but they can also use partial integration, gantry systems, laser vision systems, and more. Below are some frequently asked questions:

Why should I automate my procedure? 

There are numerous reasons why automation might be beneficial.  One might want to automate a particularly hazardous or risky task, gain consistency over quality, or operate with limited staff or reduce headcount, it might also be as simple as creating space in your manufacturing environment given today’s COVID requirements for social distancing.

How do I justify automation to my boss?

Justifying automation is totally dependent on the type of automation and the goals associated with automating.  

There are many factors to consider:

  • headcount, 
  • production levels,
  • quality issues
  • workers compensation

These issues are just a few that can come to mind.  When using operator numbers as justification for example, robotic automation generally requires a 2nd or 3rd shift to be justifiable in two years or less.

We run 3 shifts at our plant, can robots handle that workload? What about downtime?

Three shift applications are well suited to industrial robots. Fanuc robots, for example, are designed to handle 100,000 hours MTBF (meantime between failures). Typical annual maintenance consists of replacing gearbox grease and changing out batteries. Fanuc also has a support line (open 24 hrs a day, 365 days/year) and guarantees parts on-site with a technician in 24 hours in the event of a down robot. They also stock all parts in the US for any robot currently running production, regardless of the age of the robot.

We have limited space, can we make robots work?

Robots might not be the best fit in all situations and locations.  That needs to be reviewed and discussed as part of our site review of your needs/goals.  We can help you determine if hard automation (mechanical, non-robotic) might better suit your facility or if robotics can work.  It will depend on speeds, payload, reach, interaction with surroundings ( i.e. people), and other reasons. 

If you are considering automation of any kind, reach out to us at MJ Engineering and we can work with you to determine what the best type of automation is for you and for your company. Call us at (614)891-6111 ext. 110. Don’t wait to up your production and lower your human dependency. 



MJ Engineering is proud to announce another collaboration with Focused Technology Solutions
(FTS), this time the teams combined to create the LagEase. The LagEase is the World’s Most
Advanced Battery-Operated Lag Inserter. The LagEase is an investment in safety and productivity that pays for itself in faster, safer lag insertion with less labor and no need for hydraulic fluid, hoses, or generators. This tool is designed to be safer, faster, and stronger than any other on the market.


  • Drives lags in 3 seconds
  • Up to 20 pounds lighter than conventional hydraulic lag inserters
  • No hazardous hydraulics, hoses, or fluids
  • No gas-powered generators
  • No setup time necessary
  • Takes just one worker to operate


  1. Design a battery-powered lag inserter
  2. Minimize lag insertion times
  3. Minimize the cost and weight of the lag inserter
  4. Maximize the strength and useful life of the lag inserter
  5. Maximize the ergonomics of the lag inserter


  • About 30 pounds
  • 3-second lag drives
  • A rechargeable battery pack and commercially available drill
  • Easy to transport anywhere the rail takes you
  • No hydraulic system to risk leaks or environmental hazards


Robotic Pack Out

A pharmaceutical company approached MJ Engineering asking for help automating their pack out process. This company had vials randomly stored in totes that needed to be packed into trays. The trays would then be put into boxes and shipped out. The entire process was done by 1 operator who had to organize the vials into trays. 

MJ proposed a Fanuc SR-6iA robot to perform a high-speed robotic pack out. The robot featured a gripper end of arm tool to pick up the vials 4 at a time. The vials come to the robot from a bowl feeder which feeds them down a track system that allows the vials to be picked up from the same spot each time. The robot then runs the parts through a machined comb and that straightens the vials up so they could be put in the tray. A conveyor brings the tray around to the operator for packing and shipping. 

The robot is able to move an estimated 45,000 vials on a 6.5-hour-long shift. The operator loads the bowl feeder with vials and places empty trays on the conveyor. The high-speed robotic pack out cell comes with a Cognex In-Sight 2000 Vision System to make sure the labels on the vials are placed correctly. The vision system uses a colored ring light to locate the label and verify the orientation. 

The cell operates so efficiently that with current production rates the customer only needs to run the cell 3-4 hours a day rather than 3-4 operators 5 days a week.


To see how we can help automate any of your processes give us a call at (614) 891-6111 ext. 110 or email me at jwand@mjengineering.com. We can help with assembly, pack out, depal, and much more in the pharma and medical industries.