TMCnet Feature
February 20, 2019

Collaborative Robots Solving Automation Challenges

Robotic automation is now on a higher level as a result of the modern robotic models from Universal Robots known as the collaborative robots or cobots. The cobots can safely work alongside humans since they are easy to operate and portable enabling faster redeployment to other areas of production.

The use of cobots is of great benefit in automating the production activities of any industry. In fact the numerous advantages collaborative robots offer, has made Universal Robots earn a worldwide recognition in the industrial robotics industry.

Below are case studies of three companies that are currently using collaborative robots in their production tasks.

Aircraft Tooling Inc.

Aircraft tooling Inc. is a repair center for the aviation industry in the USA. The company needed a robot which was capable of engaging in repair tasks involving a High Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) and plasma spray on parts. They were looking for an affordable and efficient solution that would also go well in their small spray cells, ATI choose the UR10.  Fortunately the robots from met their expectations.

The unique feature that won the hearts of all ATI’s staff was the robot’s ability to operate very well in their spray booths which are extremely hot and dusty. Doubting the cobot’s resilience and durability, the factory’s thermal spraying supervisor feared that the robot arm would fail to withstand some of the powder coatings like the tungsten carbide, which is a hard metal coating. However, upon opening the seals of the UR10, they found the bearings intact and after three years of continuous use, its condition is still perfect and intact.

Orkla Foods Sverige, Kumla

Orkla Foods Sverige was established after an integration of three food companies namely the Abba Seafood, Procordia Food and Frödinge. The company has several production plants throughout Sweden. Currently, they are in Eslöv, Tollarp, Fågelmara, Frödinge, Kungshamn, Örebro, Vansbro and Kumla. The Kumla manufacturing facility specializes in the production of vanilla cream

Their challenge was finding an automation solution that would work well with their production machines in a network alongside their workers without the need of erecting safety installations.

Orkla Foods saw a demonstration of the UR10 and were impressed. They acquired the UR10 which automated their production process by packaging the bags in cartons.

The robot arm now works independently but is part of a network which has carton erectors and a carton sealer that is fed with the aid of a filling system. Things are now simpler with the UR10 as it enables them to streamline and eliminate the heavy lifting and tiresome repetitive obligations for their employees.

The best thing about the collaborative robot is that apart from being flexible and easy to program, it automatically stops in case a person comes near it meaning it is very safe and does not need any protective guarding around it.

The return on investment (ROI) which the company achieved for the UR10 was six months. Now the collaborative robot helps Orkla foods, Kumla to streamline all of their production tasks and achieve sustainable operational stability in packing of food products in cartons

Continental Automotive

Continental is a Spanish automotive manufacturer that has always focused on innovation. However they needed to improve their productivity since they operate within a highly competitive sector.

In 2016, they decided to invest in several UR10 cobots to automate their manufacturing tasks and the handling of PCB boards. This move has enabled them minimize the changeover times by 50%, from the previous 40 minutes when done manually to 20 minutes by the collaborative robots thereby reducing their operational costs.

The company has also managed to control the robots decision by having a central electronic and a robot controller point that enables them make changes to the system without the assistance of outside experts all thanks to the easy programming feature of the robots. Cobots use also means that their employees no longer conduct menial tasks and can concentrate on the important jobs which will increase the overall productivity of the company.

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