Cobots boost CNC machine productivity and free up manpower

EMI Integrated Systems Ltd

In short

EMI, a manufacturing company specializing in high-precision and complex parts for the high-tech, medical, and aerospace industries, faced the challenge of increasing productivity to remain competitive while suffering from professional manpower shortage. EMI realized automation was the only way to face the challenge; releasing their skilled workers from simple repetitive tasks, which can be done by cobots. The partnership with acubez™ and Universal Robots enabled the company to overcome this challenge. Since EMI deployed the modular, UR cobot-powered acubez™ automation solution to tend milling and mill-turning CNC machines, CMM machines and laser marking machines, it has added hundreds of production hours to its capacity annually, resulting in the cobots paying themselves back in 12-18 months while also increasing overall efficiency (OEE) significantly from ~70% to ~95%.

The business transformation

EMI works mainly with 4-5 axis CNC milling and mill-turn machines. The company manufactures mainly small to medium size batches of tens to thousands of parts per batch.

EMI supplies its customers all around the world with high quality parts. Like most of the industries that become increasingly sophisticated, EMI is also challenged by the professional manpower shortage combined with the need to increase productivity, making the the EMI team realize that it had to make a shift. The company’s skilled workers need to be released from simple repetitive tasks, which can be done by cobots.

EMI Integrated systems

Industry Metal, aerospace & technology
Country Israel
Number of employees 50+
Cobots used UR5 & UR10
EMI Integrated Systems Ltd, Israel

What they did

EMI’s partnership with acubez™ and Universal Robots enabled the company to overcome the challenge of increasing productivity despite suffering from manpower shortage.
Compact, flexible and low financial risk

Acubez™ modular automation solution with UR10 and UR5 cobots empowered EMI to transform their traditional factory into an industry 4.0 manufacturing floor. “Being able to configure custom automation platforms for the different needs and applications of our CNC machines was a game changer for us at EMI,” says Joshua Ulmer, CEO, EMI Integrated Systems:
“Choosing between a UR10 or UR5 cobot arm, depending on the payload or automating the workflow with trays and lift modules and different grippers on the gripper module helped us realize the vision of automation at a low financial risk. Even if we started with a low-capacity platform, the option to seamlessly add additional modules later on based on changing tasks or demands was a future-proof investment for us.”

Modular automation

Modular automation

The standard automation platform is equipped with the ‘acubez™ touch’, an intuitive software, that identifies the connected UR cobot arm and all other modules (e.g lift, storage, trays, quality assurance, end-of-arm-tools, door opener and more), enabling any worker on the floor to set up machine tending processes without prior programming or automation knowledge.

This end-to-end automation solution addresses the main challenges in the manufacturing industry, especially in the high-mix, low volume segment. The acubez™ automation solution frees up skilled workers to focus on tasks in which their professional skills are needed.

Doing more with less

Doing more with less

Since EMI started using the acubez™ automation solution, “dead times” aren’t seen any more in the efficiency charts, and the company’s overall efficiency (OEE) has increased significantly from ~70% to ~95%. “Imagine coming to the factory after a weekend, and finding that your machines ran uninterrupted throughout the weekend, producing flawless, consistent parts. That is EMI’s reality today,” explains Rave. “Ever since this solution was implemented into the machining processes, our company has added over 1,200-1600 production hours per each automated machine annually.”

Operation-wise, EMI is able to provide more products in a shorter time to its customers, with the same manpower and machine resources as before. “We simply know that the cobot will show up to its shift every single time, a fact which enables us to commit to our customers with a higher level of confidence regarding the delivery times,” says EMI’s COO.

Future proofing with fast ROI

Future proofing with fast ROI

The company was surprised by the short return on investment on the automation project. “From our experience we are talking about 12 to 18 months, which is a very short period,” says the company’s CEO, Joshua Ulmer.

EMI constantly continues to automate its manufacturing processes by adding more acubez™ modules and platforms on the manufacturing floor to eventually achieve the company’s vision: being an industry 4.0 smart factory, providing its customers with the best and most advanced service.

SU-PAD, the local distributor, has been extraordinarily responsive to the needs of EMI, and assisted wherever needed

Uzi Rave, COO, EMI Integrated Systems

About EMI Integrated Systems Ltd.

EMI Integrated Systems Ltd. is trusted by industry leaders in the medical device, aerospace, and high-tech industries around the world, to deliver complex, high-precision parts, electromechanical modules, and assemblies. Employing the most advanced techniques and equipment, EMI is committed to manufacturing at the highest levels of quality and complexity. EMI has three decades of experience merged with knowledge and expertise at the cutting-edge of technology for high-precision electromechanical parts and modules. This combination allows the company to offer exclusive tailor-made engineering and manufacturing solutions using all types of metals, plastics, and exotic materials, on schedule and with excellence you can rely on.

Automated tool changer, acubez™ GripperCube, compatible with the UR cobot arm.
Automated tool changer, acubez™ GripperCube, compatible with the UR cobot arm.

Automation challenges solved:

  • Over 1,200 of production hours added annually per each automated machine, without adding staff
  • Unmanned production during weekends (lights-out manufacturing)
  • Unbeatable production consistency
  • No changes required to manufacturing floor set-up in order to add automation thanks to small footprint of system and cobot
  • Overall efficiency (OEE) increased significantly from ~70% to ~95%
  • Ability to automate high-mix/low-volume production

Key value drivers:

  • Increased competitiveness
  • Short ROI: 12-18 months only
  • End-to-end solution with expandable options / modules to add capabilities
  • Intuitive software - no programming skills needed

Tasks solved by collaborative robots

  • Automated high-mix/low-volume production
  • Automated milling and mill-turning CNC machines, CMM machines and laser marking machines
  • Pick and place applications

Get in touch with Universal Robots

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

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