The MANN+HUMMEL team, with initial support from Vicosystems, Universal Robots’ distributor in the region, has created three collaborative applications using UR10 cobots.
The three applications are integrated into assembly cells where the transfer of parts is carried out automatically. The UR10 works together with the operator who is feeding a machine in an environment where it is difficult for the operator to enter easily or where he or she has to enter at a precise moment in the process.
Application 1: The cell synchronizes the loading and unloading of the welding machine perfectly to avoid a bottleneck. With the UR10, machine loading and unloading is done in just 10 seconds, compared to the usual time of 16 seconds when the task is carried out by a single human operator.
Application 2: The assembly cell was first configured according to a customer’s requirements in which a single operator was sufficient. A later change in the customer’s demand required an increase in productivity but not enough to justify adding a second operator. The solution was to add a robot whose function is to transfer parts between the welding machine and a verification machine. The robot waits until the part is finished, takes it out of the machine and delivers it directly into the operator’s hand exactly when needed.
Application 3: The team introduced a robot in the design phase as they knew from the start that one operator could not reach the required production output but that two operators was not an option due to the risk of overproduction. They designed a schedule in which a UR10 cobot working alongside a single operator to transfer parts between two different machines provided the precise output necessary to reach the target.
The distributors Vicosystems (involved at the start of the project) and SEA Zaragoza (todays distributor), add, "When the MANN+HUMMEL team explained to us the automation challenges they were facing and they were in a hurry to find a solution, we had no hesitation in suggesting a Universal Robots cobot. The integration time was minimal and after a brief training, they quickly learned to develop their own applications thanks to the flexibility and simplicity offered by the UR cobots. It is a pleasure to have been able to support them on this project.”
MANN+HUMMEL's experience with UR cobots has been so positive that they are already considering extending their use to other parts of the factory, and are considering the possibility of incorporating cobots for inspection tasks, parts packaging, and activities that do not add value to the product. They are currently testing a UR10 equipped with a Robotiq gripper 2F-140, as part of the development of a new packaging application.