UR10 Cobot Solves Labor Shortage and Automates Production
01 THE SHORT STORY2K Trend, a.s. manufactures high-precision injection molding plastic parts for large automakers. The company had difficulty staffing the task of tending the injection molding machine and instead deployed a UR10 for the job. The cobot now handles the entire cycle, delivering optimized production while also solving the labor shortage issue.
Video — 2K Trend, Czech Repulbic
02 THE ChallengeLike many other countries, the Czech Republic is seeing a shrinking labor pool in the manufacturing sector, presenting a challenge for companies like 2K Trend.
“There is a big shortage of skilled employees on the market, which limits the dynamic development of the whole company,” says Jiří Koláček, CEO of 2K Trend, a.s.
His company needed to automate part of its production processes in order to reduce the human resources needed. Another challenge was stabilizing the manufacturing process and increase productivity. At the same time, employees also needed to maintain access to the pressing machine. Looking at these different criteria, a collaborative robot became the clear choice for 2K Trend.
03 THE SolutionThe company selected a system integrator of collaborative robots able to offer a complete solution of automation. Today, the collaborative robot UR10 from Universal Robots is in operation, securing complete operation of the injection molding machine.
The UR10 collaborative robot takes the plastic pellets and puts them in the mold to begin an injection molding cycle. At the end of the cycle, the cobot removes the finished moldings, which are then unloaded onto the conveyor belt. This is a monotonous activity that requires great precision in handling finished plastic moldings. Due to the size of the machine, it is also necessary to overcome the relatively large height distance from the press to the conveyor belt.
UR cobot models: UR10
The UR10 cobot prepares to load plastic pellets into the molding machine
Thanks to the Universal Robots Academy, current employees were able to set the cobot up very fast
The user friendliness of Universal Robots was one of the main attributes that made 2K Trend choose the UR10 as a solution for automation
It is hard to find an industry for which the Universal Robots has no solution
04 THE BenefitsEmployees of 2K Trend, a.s. now do not have to perform complicated and monotonous work on the press machine, i.e. inserting and removing moldings. The press machine is relatively large and its movement is complicated due to its construction. The UR10 cobot can handle the whole machine practically independently, so it is not necessary to fill this position with human workers. The advantage is also a large operating range of the UR10 arm, which operates the entire machine very efficiently.
The robot maintenance is virtually zero. In addition to the regular visual inspection of the final moldings and mechanical components of the robot, there is no need to interfere with its operation. The UR10 has been working reliably at 2K Trend for over a year now, and has never had any unexpected problems. “The acquisition of a collaborative robot has proven to be a step in the right direction and its operation in the company has met all expectations,” says Jiří Koláček, CEO of 2K Trend, a.s.
05 THE CompanyThe newly established company has modern electrical and hydraulic injection molding machines capable of producing a closing force of 110 to 220 tons. For this purpose, the company has a fully implemented production and quality management system, according to the ISO 9001:2015 standard. The resulting product is then a precision plastic part that does not need further processing and can be shipped to the customers, mostly automakers.
- Automatization of the process of inserting small plastic pellets into pressing machine
- Fast integration of cobot into production process
- Safe and easy access into the workplace
- Fast set-up of the solution
- Minimalization of routine tasks
- Increase of production speed and efficiency
- Low costs of building a workplace
- Flexibility of the solution
- Maximum possible automation of the injection molding process
- Full cycle operation of the injection-molding pressing machine
- Loading finished products onto conveyor
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Cost-effective, safe and flexible collaborative robots - or cobots- are making automation easier than ever, even for the small and mid-sizes companies.