The robot takes the nightshift in the 10-man company.

The German production company Thiele wished to extend its small series production but found regular automation solutions too expensive and complex. A lightweight robot arm from Universal Robots allowed the company to run unmanned nightshifts, significantly improving production efficiency.

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The challenge

Up until now, automation has been unthinkable for small companies. The robots available have been too expensive, too complex, and too difficult to integrate in production.

Bavarian 10-man production company, Thiele, shared this opinion. But faced with the challenge of extending its production without hiring extra workers, automation seemed the only solution.

In order to be relevant, the solution had to be affordable, extremely easy to operate, and mobile as Thiele needed to move it quickly from machine to machine.

Highlights from the case

Industry Metal and Machining
Country Europe
Number of Employees 5-25
Cobot used UR5
video — ur5 robot, atria, sweden

The solution

Thiele decided to go with a customised solution from Universal Robots: An 18 kg robot arm with special catchers and an intuitive graphical user interface, allowing all employees to operate it with ease. Costing only a third of similar solutions, the robot was well within reach of the small company.

Today, the robot handles all tasks relating to milling of small series at night – with no human interaction at all. It opens both gates, feeds the raw material, fixes it in the machine vice, removes it following milling, and puts it aside. This relieves employees from monotonous handling work and frees hands to carry out far more challenging tasks.

The robot solution was developed and integrated in just four weeks and the investment will have paid itself off in only 7-10 months. No wonder Thiele is currently planning further expansions.

UR5 collaborative robot, Thiele, GermanyUR5 collaborative robot, Thiele, Germany

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