In 2011, BWIndustrie contacts Sysaxes, a distributor of Universal Robots, to assist with the integration of its first UR5 cobot. The goal was to replace an obsolete traditional robot installed in 2008, that was in charge of handling light parts. Following the success of this first operation, the company decided to invest in three other UR cobots, carrying out CNC machine tending, deburring and quality inspection. .
Today, four collaborative robotics applications are operational:
The first application carries out the loading and unloading of a CNC lathe. The second performs a similar task with a vertical lathe as well as quality control of the parts. These robotic cells, equipped with cameras, free up the operators' time so they can focus on higher value-added tasks. In both applications, the cobots carry dangerous and/or sharp parts. The area was therefore secured via laser safety scanners that make the cobots stop if a person is detecting entering the work envelope.
On the third application, the cobot helps in the quality control of hundreds of thousands of metal tubes per year. It presents them in front of two high-definition cameras , which inspects the dimensional characteristics of the extruded tubes. If the inspection fails, the cobot places the part in a reject box. All these inspection operations were previously carried out manually before the arrival of the cobots..
In 2019, in order to keep pace with its growth and meet customer demand, BWIndustrie successfully installed the latest addition to the e-Series range, the UR16e, in just two weeks. This allows the company to automate the deburring of castings part weighing between 4 and 14 kg. The cobot handles nearly a ton of metal parts per day.
The cobot is placed in a semi-open cell on which several deburring tools (milling cutters, belt grinders, grinding wheels…) are affixed, including pneumatic grippers. A specific zone allows the cell to be supplied with parts to be deburred. The UR16e picks the workpiece with pneumatic grippers and presents it to the deburring tools. The operation takes less than a minute and the part is then placed back in the specific location for the parts to be treated.
The Remote TCP functionality of the e-Series products line, combined with the natural flexibility of the cobot, makes the programmation of the cobot very quick, using an external tool by reproducing the complex operator gesture. The cobot can then be reprogrammed to process a wide range of products, including parts that vary greatly in size, design and weight. Because of this, the learning time on a new complex part has been reduced by a factor of five. In addition, employees previously assigned to this tedious task can now take on more rewarding and less MSD-prone activities, such as machine control and quality control.