German fries Maschinenbau had two focus areas: keeping up with competitors in a highly competitive supplier market and relieving their workers of monotonous tasks. The flexible UR10 from universal robots was the means to do both. Since its deployment production has increased and workers can now devote much more attention to quality control.
Operating in the highly competitive supplier market German manufacturer Fries Maschinenbau had made it their long-term mission to increasingly streamline production methods. One process that had consumed the owner’s thoughts for some time was the manual loading of the CNC machine.
“As the owner of a small business, I am aware that I will only be able to keep up with my competitors in the long run if I employ innovative methods. The loading of a CNC machine is a very monotonous task and I’d rather my employees were putting their valuable skills to use elsewhere”, says Anton Fries, founder and general manager of Fries Maschinenbau GmbH.
As a consequence he went looking for a robot that would increase productivity and relieve his employees of the monotonous tasks. The optimum solution would be easy to move from one station to another in the small plant and have a flexible gripping system
Universal Robots’ UR10 met all of Fries Maschinenbau’s requirements and is now in operation as part of an all-in-one solution that can be instantly employed for a range of applications. Currently, the UR10 is put to use in a hard-turning process, equipped with a double gripper. The robot takes rotating parts from charge carriers with the first gripper and moves to a re-grip station before it clamps the part between the CNC machine’s turning lathe edges. Just before a new part is clamped the second gripper is used to remove the processed part.
“The robot allows us to automate production runs ranging from 50 to 1,000 parts”, says Anton Fries. The real highlight to him, however, is how quickly the space-saving robot can be reprogrammed and used on different machines. Even inexperienced workers can learn how to operate the robots, which fulfills one of Anton Fries’ core requirements.
UR10 collaborative robot, Fries Maschinenbau, Germany
“Just a few hours are all it took to teach them how to program and operate the robotic arm. The employee who used to operate the CNC machine can now oversee the work of other machines, too, without any added stress. What is more, he can now devote his full attention to quality control,” Says Anton Fries, who is now considering acquiring more robots to help optimise his machining processes.
- CNC machine loading had been previously done manually in short cycles of 25 – 45 seconds with varying unit quantities.
- The Universal Robot helped streamline the process while significantly boosting production.
- Easy programming
- Flexible deployment
- Fast Payback
- Machine tending
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Cost-effective, safe and flexible collaborative robots - or cobots- are making automation easier than ever, even for the small and mid-sizes companies.