Stacking trays, picking parts off conveyors, and tending machines are just some of the many tedious tasks AIM Processing now has the collaborative robots from Universal Robots (UR) handling. Facing labor shortages, the Colorado injection molder wanted a versatile automation solution that could quickly be moved between work stations to address a multitude of tasks in a high mix/low volume setting. The answer was a mobile platform with a UR5e cobot equipped with Flexx Reference, a feature that enables the cobot to be repurposed in a matter of minutes, delivering a fourfold increase in productivity with a payback of less than 15 weeks.
The business transformation
AIM Processing produces over 1300 different parts for more than 100 different customers in a variety of industries. “Every day is new here with very few production runs set up for a long time,” says owner Jon Gelston, who also faced an extremely scarce labor market. “That really sparked us to look into automation, to find ways to increase our output and control our costs,” says Gelston, who started searching for a versatile and modular automation solution. His team had come across Universal Robots at a tradeshow a few years earlier. “It struck us as something that had potential to work in our environment,” says the AIM Processing owner, who went ahead and purchased a UR5e cobot.