Updating the shop from older lathes to modern CNC machines improved product quality, but also increased cycle times, which impacted deliveries and didn’t effectively use valuable machinists. NEU needed to increase output without adding manned shifts, and wanted to automate less-specialized tasks so that employees could be moved to higher-value roles such as setting up CNC machines and spending more time on inspection and quality.
New England Union Company
Lights-Out Machine Tending with ActiNav System Addresses Labor Issues for New England Union Foundry and Machine Shop
New England Union Company (NEU) is a family-owned foundry and machine shop that makes brass threaded pipe fittings for the plumbing and shipping industries. NEU replaced outdated equipment with modern CNC machines, but manufacturing staffing remains a challenge in Rhode Island. To address labor shortages and longer cycle times, the company deployed a UR10e cobot and ActiNav bin picking system to run untended all night long. With ActiNav, NEU can increase output with the same number of employees.