In business since 1951, Linatex has seen a lot of manufacturing processes and technologies come and go. One decision has proven itself for 10 years.
Linatex, a Danish manufacturer of specialized plastic and rubber components, became Universal Robots’ first customer with the purchase of a UR5 cobot in 2008. As we celebrate our tenth anniversary, we talked to Linatex again (you can read our first case study about them here) about what was—at that time—a ground-breaking decision.
“In 2008, we bought a UR5 robot arm to automate the feeding of our CNC machine. It ran in a trouble-free operation five days a week for two years,” explains Linatex CEO Torben Malmros. When the second generation of UR5 was launched by Universal Robots, we decided to exchange it for the new model, because we wanted the features in the new software like torque control.”
Linatex still has that robot from 2011, which is now more than seven years old. The robot is currently in operation 12 to 14 hours a day and the company will add an evening shift soon, adding another five hours of operation, five days a week. Other than occasional software updates, the cobot has required no other maintenance or parts replacements.
In explaining why Linatex took a chance on a completely new and unproven robot, Malmros says, “We've always been a bit on the "nerdy" side. We often see ourselves as first adopters of new technology.”
But it was a business need that drove the initial implementation.
“Back 10 years ago, we had received a very large order from the wind turbine industry that we needed to automate to fulfill,” Malmros explains. “We really liked the new robot, and its potential to help us meet this order was crucial. Since we operate only with lightweight materials such as polymers and rubber, we didn't need a robot with a heavy payload, so the UR5 was a perfect choice.”