Robot technology accelerates car seat assembly

Lear Corporation

In short

Global automotive supplier Lear corporation has optimised just-in-time assembly by introducing robot technology on the production line. Every day the robotic arm completes around 8,500 drilling actions on car seats – and monitors the process digitally to prevent faulty seats from continuing on the conveyor belt. The result is an increase in both production speed and product reliability.

The challenge

Just-in-time assembly is an established production model in the supplier industry, enabling considerable cost savings on the part of the customer. For automotive supplier Lear Corporation the model requires superlative flexibility – and with limited space available inside the production hall it was becoming increasingly difficult to meet the demand.

What Lear Corporation needed was a small, mobile robot that could be used directly alongside personnel without safety guarding as the individual production steps take place one after another on a conveyor belt. The optimum solution would also have to be easy to program for people with limited experience with robot technology.

Lear corporation

Industry Automotive and Subcontractors
Country Germany
Number of Employees 1000+
Cobots used UR5
Watch how the vision-guided UR5 cobot assembles car seats

The solution

Introducing Universal Robots on the production line first of all meant that no expansion of the production area was required. The small UR5 easily works within current space constraints – and even helps to prevent errors.

The robotic arm is responsible for screwing together automotive seat and rest frames with an end-of-arm screwdriver, completing around 8,500 drilling actions every day. The seats are equipped with a transponder containing individual identification data. As soon as the seat arrives underneath the robot, the transponder is read and the robot tightens several screws on both sides of the seat. If screws are missing on a seat, the robot picks this product out and issues a warning signal.

Thanks to the intuitive user interface of the UR5 any worker can program the robotic arm by dragging and dropping standard routines into an on-screen script or by simply grabbing the arm and showing it the desired movement.

Automation challenges solved:

  • The Universal Robot automated drilling on thousands of manually set screws while ensuring the quality through vision guidance.

Key value drivers:

  • Easy programming
  • Fast set-up
  • Collaborative and safe

Tasks solved by collaborative robots:

  • Quality inspection
  • Drilling

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