Benchmark Electronics revolutionizes manufacturing processes with cobots, improving operational efficiency by 25 percent
01 the short story
Benchmark Electronics Thailand (Benchmark Thailand), an engineering, manufacturing and integrated technology solutions provider for original equipment manufacturers, deployed four UR5 and two UR10e collaborative robots (cobots) for assembly and testing tasks in its Korat, Thailand production facility. With cobots, the Company is seeing greater output quality with fewer human errors. Operational efficiency has improved by 25 percent while as much as 10 percent of manufacturing space has been saved. Operators have been transferred to higher-skilled jobs, involving complex assembly processes, following the integration of cobots in the production process
02 the challenge
Committed to providing world-class manufacturing services, Benchmark Thailand designed an automated assembly and testing production line to revolutionize its Thai facility, simultaneously addressing the need to improve production efficiency, output quality and customer satisfaction.
Finding the right robotic solution for the applications was important to ensuring the automated line would run successfully. After much research, the engineering team led by Project Engineer Udomsak Insome, identified cobots as the perfect fit because of their user-friendly design and ability to work alongside workers safely.
Video — Collaborative robots at Benchmark Electronics - Thailand
03 the solution
Benchmark Thailand tested numerous robot brands but found that UR, being the world-leading cobot brand, best met its operational needs. The cobots are easy to program and are able to work alongside operators safely. The cobots are also highly flexible, enabling the Company to easily redeploy and reprogram them for other tasks, should there be a change in the production process or timeline.
Although new to robotics, the engineering team was able to program and integrate the cobots into the production line within a few days. The excellent support from Thai distributor Autoflexible Advanced Engineering, who provided training and advice during the setup process, helped ensure the team embraced the new technology swiftly and effectively.
“Much like my team, I did not have any prior experience with cobots. I learned a lot during the setup process and picked up cobot programming and systems integration in just a few days,” said Project Engineer Udomsak Insome who initiated the automation project. Udomsak is one of the longest serving employees at Benchmark Thailand for 13 years.
During the setup, the engineering team made a risk assessment of the whole process. As the cobot comes with in-built safety functions, the applications were deemed low risk and safety guarding was not needed, saving the Company hefty renovation costs.
Benchmark Thailand also found the UR+ platform, a global product platform featuring third party certified plug and play solutions for UR cobots, extremely helpful, acquiring a vision device which quickened the cobot installation.
“Through Universal Robots cobots, we see greater consistency in our production output and minimal human error. We have improved operational efficiency by 25 percent and saved manufacturing space by 10 percent. This will be good for new business opportunities. We are also expected to achieve ROI within 18 months,” said Boonlert Aukkarapichata, Director of Operations at Benchmark Thailand.
The Company envisions four more automation projects in Korat, Thailand which will require more cobots.
Collaborative robot programming at Benchmark
Collaborative robots deployed at Benchmark Korat plant
Benchmark team is happy to work with UR cobots
- User-friendly and easy to program
- Highly flexibly, easily to redeploy and reprogram for other tasks
- Complements existing facility and infrastructure
- Ability to automate without safety guarding
- Ease of use (modular)
- Safe and collaborative
- Fast ROI
- Improve production efficiency
- Consistent product quality, minimal human error
- Facilitate workers’ upskilling
- Pick and place
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Collaborative robots are Cost-effective, safe and flexible and they are making automation easier than ever, even for the small and mid-sizes companies.