A solution of automation and improved productivity to the production line

ALPHA Corporation

In short

Facing a shortage of labor force and rising labor costs due to decreasing labor force population, ALPHA Corporation had to continue improving productivity in their production lines in order to keep competitive in the future. At the same time, they were required to automate production lines by utilizing the existing process and its equipment at most. Consequently, they decided to deploy collaborative collaborative robots of UR3 and UR5 as they are lightweight, flexible and can be used without a fence.

As a “key and keyless” lock manufacturer, ALPHA Corporation manufactures a wide range of products that include coin-operated lockers, housing & industrial locks, and automobile parts. At Gunma Plant, they do a full production, from molding and casting to painting, plating, and assembly. In addition to production, Gunma Plant serves as the global production technology Center and receives trainees from the group companies including oversea plants.

At Gunma Plant, ALPHA has launched a project to keep improving the productivity of existing production lines in coming years, when there is a social problem of labor force shortage and rising labor costs due to decreasing labor force population. "The challenge we were facing was to improve productivity without changing the layout of existing production lines", said Mr.Kenichi Yoshizawa, Production Chief of Gunma Plant. "Initially we have also considered deploying industrial robots but abandoned the idea since we did not have enough space to put industrial robots with fences around them."

ALPHA Corporation

Industry Automotive and Subcontractors
Country Asia
Number of Employees 1000+
Cobots used UR3 & UR5
Video — UR robots, ALPHA Corporation, Japan

The solution

At Gunma Plant, they decided to deploy Universal Robots' collaborative robots in key cutting lines after much consideration. In 2015, one UR3 has been installed at the palletizing finished key process. With its success, they introduced two UR5 to molding process.

Mr. Yoshizawa explains the reasons to choose Universal Robots. "One of the reasons for choosing Universal Robots was its small footprint. Other robots are too big and require fences to ensure safety. Deploying other robots on existing lines would have required line changes or moving other equipment. The advantage of Universal Robots was that we could use the robots without making changes to the existing lines."

Boosting Productivity and Quality

Boosting Productivity and Quality

When workers manually perform the task, there are mistakes that cause scrap. Unlike the manual process, using robots produces the same number of works in the same amount of time every time. When you deploy robots, you have spare time to do different tasks. You don’t have to worry about them stopping so you can concentrate on other things. "We were able to improve productivity dramatically. We now operate 24 hours a day and, compared to before we installed Universal Robots, the productivity of the automobile key molding process has improved 20%, " said Mr. Yoshizawa. When it comes to maintenance, there are training and support from Universal Robots partners. After receiving the training, you are able to teach and service the robots yourself. Gaining a better understanding of the robots also gives you the confidence to handle anything that might go wrong. "Moving forward, we want to deploy even more robots and automate the gate cutting in the molding process to further boost productivity," concluded Mr. Yoshizawa.

Moving forward, we want to deploy even more robots and automate the gate cutting in the molding process to further boost productivity.

Mr.Kenichi Yoshizawa, Production Chief of Gunma Plant.
UR5, Collaborative Robot at ALPHA Corporation, JapanUR5, Collaborative Robot at ALPHA Corporation, Japan2 x UR5, Collaborative Robots at ALPHA Corporation, Japan2 x UR5, Collaborative Robots at ALPHA Corporation, JapanUR3, Collaborative Robot at ALPHA Corporation, Japan

Automation challenges solved:

  • The flexible UR Robots have automated mutiple process without changing production layout.
  • The productivity has increased 20% by the automation.
  • The production workers are empowered to come up with new ideas of next robots deployment.

Key value drivers:

  • Easy programming
  • Collaborative and safe
  • Flexible deployment
  • Fast payback

Tasks solved by collaborative robots:

  • Picking & Placing automotive keys to pallets
  • Loading and unloading materials to molding machine

Get in touch with Universal Robots

Thousands of businesses rely on Collaborative Robots to...

- Increase productivity
- Adapt to changing product demand
- Improve employee well-being and retention
- Staff through labor shortages

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