Hearing aid manufacturer Oticon had been using robot technology for 10 years but as the minute components became increasingly smaller the existing two- and three-axes robots were no longer suitable. If for instance a small part got stuck in the mould the robotic arm could not perform the required lateral and vertical movements sufficiently to tip it out. Replacing their existing two- and three-axes robots with a six-axes UR5 allowed them to automate small production runs with many variables. Equally important, the dexterous robotic arm handles parts of only a millimeter in size with great precision.
Also, rapid advances in medical engineering have resulted in constantly changing production processes and a broader range of hearing aid models meant that new technology was required.
“The parts for modern hearing aids are getting smaller and are often only a millimetre in size. We looked for a solution that can suction small parts out of a mould. This was impossible manually. We needed a more flexible solution that would also be economically viable for smaller production runs”, says Arne Oddershede, group leader of the maintenance unit at Oticon.