FAMILY-OWNED DENTAL INSTRUMENT MANUFACTURER NICHROMINOX SEES 10 PERCENT PRODUCTION BOOST
Nichrominox, a family-owned company in Lyon, France, has manufactured sterilization equipment for dentists for 40 years and faces growing competition from countries with low labor costs. The company sought to automate a metal-folding application with traditional industrial robots but soon realized that they did not have the necessary in-house resources to implement this and that the project cost was too high.
Nichrominox now uses four collaborative robots on three separate production lines to automate a bending cell, feed a CNC machine, and assemble products alongside an operator. One cobot performs a punching operation on one press then turns components on a shuttle table and performs a bending operation on a second press. A second cobot is fully integrated with the CNC machining center, saving time, improving the work quality, and reducing the risk of repetitive strain injuries. In the third line, an assembly station is run by an operator and a cobot working side-by-side in full collaboration without the need for any additional safety guarding. The operator activates the cobot by applying pressure (through an integrated force sensor in the gripper), which makes the robot easy to manage.
The cobots were programmed by an in-house employee, Cédric Lefrancq-Lumiere. “I did not have any programming knowledge but after only two days of training, I was able to understand and program the robot. Today I only need one or two hours to program a new task and I’m constantly improving the program to achieve better quality and precision,” he says. Nichrominox saw an ROI on the robots in 14 months and intends to keep transforming its production lines with additional cobots.
COBOTS BRIDGE THE AUTOMATION GAP FOR MEDICAL MANUFACTURERS
Collaborative robots or “cobots” are a new class of robots that are bridging the gap between fully manual assembly and fully automated manufacturing lines. This has become a critical competitive advantage for small and mid-sized specialty medical device manufacturers. Key benefits include flexible deployment, safe operation alongside human workers, easy programming and implementation, and fast return on investment.
Ready to get your team onboard with cobots?