Transforming Guangzhou Li Gong into a smart factory with cobots

Guangzhou Li Gong

In short

Guangzhou Li Gong Industry Co., Ltd. (Guangzhou Li Gong), founded in 1985, researched and manufactured AIoT machines, including cobot unattended system, unmanned autonomous mobile robot and edge computing equipment. In 2018, Guangzhou Li Gong began to design a cobot-based solution that integrated the cobot of Universal Robots (hereinafter referred to as UR) into an intelligent loading and unloading platform - CoSi unattended cobot (hereinafter referred to as CoSi), reducing the input of labor cost, improving the efficiency and yield, comprehensively improving the safety of the station, and achieving the effect of freeing manpower, reducing cost and improving efficiency.

The business transformation

Loading and unloading is a repetitive and boring job that can lead to repetitive strain injury, or human error. Therefore, Guangzhou Li Gong has been looking for automation solutions to improve quality, consistency and production speed, thus expanding the production capacity.

The complex robot programming language, the daily switching between different workpieces, and the huge guard fence are all obstacles Guangzhou Li Gong has previously encountered in its use of industrial robots. With the continuous increase of customer orders and frequent daily switching between different workpieces, Guangzhou Li Gong needs a set of more flexible and efficient solutions.

Guangzhou Li Gong

Industry Metal and Machining
Country Asia
Number of Employees 100-500
Cobots used UR5, UR10, UR16e
Video — Guangzhou Li Gong Industry Co., Ltd. China

The solution

Guangzhou Li Gong set its sights on collaborative automation. After multiple considerations, Guangzhou Li Gong decided to integrate UR5, UR10 and UR16e cobots into its intelligent loading and unloading platform.

Guangzhou Li Gong is an enterprise with no sales personnel and only a small project team to follow up the project. Nevertheless, they have established a good cooperative relationship with every customer, and has won the global best partner award for customers in different industries for many times, all depending on the intelligent manufacturing of the factory. CoSi is one of the intelligent solutions developed by Guangzhou Li Gong, which can automatically load materials to the equipment without tedious programming, so as to achieve multi-category, small-batch, flexible and discrete production.

CoSi series has 6 solutions, all of which can match CNC milling (such as five-axis machining center), CNC turning (double-spindle turning center), EDM and Coordinate measuring machine (CMM), and integrate corresponding UR cobots, including UR5, UR10 and UR16e according to different task requirements. Even the largest UR16e cobot, with a base mounting diameter of only 19cm, can be tightly integrated into a complete set of equipment.

In the traditional upgrading and transformation, the manufacturing industry will encounter the following problems: the difficulty and complexity of the whole robot programming technique; the limitation of the original factory space; the potential safety hazards. The advantages of UR cobots can exactly solve these problems.

Adam Sobieski, General Manager of UR China
Quick deployment

Quick deployment

Li Weichong, CEO of Guangzhou Li Gong, said, “we used to need a colleague in front of each CNC to follow up the loading and unloading of products. It is completely different after development of CoSi series that integrates UR cobots. We only need one colleague for five CNC machines, freeing up manpower. Moreover, CoSi conforms to the international safety standard of man-machine collaboration and achieves safe man-machine collaboration without additional guardrails. If the machine is shifted due to a collision, it will stop and sound an alarm. Our colleagues are more secure to collaborate with robots.”

Intuitive programming

Intuitive programming

UR cobot programming is intuitive, and even employees without experience in robot programming can quickly get started after training. This is also an important reason for quick deployment of CoSi. Especially after using CoSi XOS system, it usually takes only 15 minutes to deploy CoSi to the corresponding machine tool and start loading and unloading. Moreover, the workpiece replacement and production line switching can be completed within 1min at the soonest.

The flexible CoSi robot can achieve quick deployment within 15min and product switching within 1min
The flexible CoSi robot can achieve quick deployment within 15min and product switching within 1min

Precise and efficient

The repeated positioning accuracy of UR cobot with CoSi unattended cobot is 0.03mm and the accuracy of CoSi robot with CoFi clamping fixtures of Li Gong can be up to 0.015mm, fully meeting the requirements of precision flexible production, greatly reducing the error rate and improving the efficiency.

“We don't need to hire extra operators for the equipment. For example, take 6 CNC machines as an example. Originally, one colleague was required for 2 CNC machines, 9 colleagues in total required in 3 shifts. Now, only 3 colleagues are required in 3 shifts with CoSi unattended cobot. In addition, for UR cobot deployment, it is not required to hire robot experts for programming or to buy guard fences, reducing the cost of technology investment. All of these will help us transform into a smart factory faster and more smoothly," stated Li Weichong.

A CoSi robot can operate two CNC machines simultaneously, greatly improving the efficiency and capacity
A CoSi robot can operate two CNC machines simultaneously, greatly improving the efficiency and capacity

UR+ empowers beginners

Each customer has different production lines, different working environments, and different requirements. Therefore, UR works closely with distributors and system integrator partners to customize suitable applications for customers and innovate UR+ solutions. UR+ integrates the industry's large ecosystem and cobot "expertise" to provide users with powerful peripherals and application suites. Users can apply UR+ application suites and components certified by UR for faster automation processes.

Li Weichong pointed out, “With UR+, beginners become experts. The software we developed at UR+ can turn decades of experience of a master into mathematics and then into a program. What we need is only to open the arm pendant, open the UR+ program, and input the hardware to be placed, such as clamping force parameters, labeling parameters, etc. All quantifiable standards and repeatable executions make automated manufacturing and intelligent manufacturing easy and efficient.”

With UR+, beginners become experts. All quantifiable standards and repeatable executions make automated manufacturing and intelligent manufacturing easy and efficient.

Li Weichong, CEO of Guangzhou Li Gong Industry Co., Ltd.

Faster ROI

Li Weichong adds: "UR cobot is safe and easy to use; the pioneering UR+ could lead to faster deployment and return on investment. As the developer and application user, Guangzhou Li Gong can benefit from it, and that's why we firmly choose UR as our partner. We will also continue to explore the possibility of adopting more UR cobots, or integrating them into new application platforms.”

The global cobot market has grown nearly tenfold in the past five years, at 30% growth each year. Unattended loading and unloading is one of the main contents of the cobot in industrial applications. In China, there are more than 2 million CNC machines, which means a market of 100 billion level.

Adam concluded, "The cobot has great potential and development power in the field of CNC application and has a promising future.”

CoSi unattended cobot series (left: T series, right: M series)
CoSi unattended cobot series (left: T series, right: M series)

Automation challenges solved:

  • Improve efficiency and yield
  • Free employees from repetitive and boring loading and unloading tasks
  • Maintain the quality consistency and comprehensively improve the safety of the station
  • Achieve multi-category, small-batch, flexible and discrete production
  • Promote the transformation of the enterprise into a smart factory

Key value drivers:

  • Flexible solutions
  • No need to hire additional employees and deploy guard fences, reducing cost and improving efficiency
  • Small floor area
  • The user interface is user-friendly and intuitive, and beginners can get started quickly

Tasks solved by collaborative robots:

  • Machine tool management
  • Quality control

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