In less than five years, Go Fast Campers (GFC) in Bozeman, Montana has grown from initial concept to an innovative manufacturing operation with 65 employees – and a starting minimum wage of $52,500 a year plus benefits. Cobot automation has been GFC’s strategy for success since day one. A line of fully integrated UR5 machine-tending cobots uses a single robot program to produce any part, in any machine cell. This allows the company to manufacture high-quality components just-in-time, offering significant competitive advantage, while also being able to quickly incorporate customer feedback.
The business transformation
At Go Fast Campers, a line of four UR5 cobots are fully integrated with Haas CNC machines, offering 22 hours of productivity per day, including 6 hours of unmanned, lights-out manufacturing. The robots all use the same robot program, so that any cell can run any of the company’s parts in any volume to meet each day’s assembly requirements.
The UR5 cobots’ flexibility and ease of integration and programming mean GFC can run 20 to 25 jobs across four machining centers each day, with changeovers taking only 10 to 15 minutes. The machine cells produce just the quantities needed for that day—whether that’s 15 or 500 pieces.
Having experienced the advantages of robotic automation for a small business, GFC has started down the path of turning its cobot machining cell setup into a product that can be sold to other small manufacturers to help them start with automation and run their businesses effectively.
“These automation tools, you usually only see them in these giant businesses, and I think they actually have the most power for small businesses,” says GFC CEO and co-founder, Wiley Davis. “If a small company doesn’t have access to these tools, there’s no way they can compete. Automation is a really powerful tool to allow for a much bigger diversity of products and perspectives.”