Collaborative Robots Increase Production by 25% at Tsung Shih, Handling Packaging and Labeling Tasks
01 the short story
Tsung Shih Co., Ltd. has deployed two UR5 collaborative robots (cobots) in its packaging and label printing product lines to perform pick-and-place tasks. Since the deployment of UR cobots, productivity has gone up by 25%. The cobots are able to produce high-quality products, working alongside the existing workforce. The cobots do not require a designated area, which frees up space for other uses in Tsung Shih's factory. In addition, the cobots can be deployed flexibly and programmed intuitively, reducing the need and cost of deploying different machinery in different product lines. The UR cobots can easily transition from performing one production task to another, enabling Tsung Shih to make adjustments to their production strategies based on changes in market conditions and reach their goal of small-volume large-variety production, thereby optimizing its competitive edge.
02 the challenge
Founded in 1987, Tsung Shih Co., Ltd. is a manufacturer of high precision plastic injection molds. With their expertise in plastic manufacturing, Tsung Shih has won orders from a reputed Scandinavian furniture manufacturer, securing their leading position in the plastic injection business. As a result of globalization, SMEs like Tsung Shih has been faced with more competition. To meet this challenge, Tsung Shih decided to transition from OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) to ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) to increase market opportunities. That was when Tsung Shih discovered a shortage in their human resources. The expertise of their senior employees was not enough to tackle new challenges, and not many people in the younger generation wanted to do factory jobs. Limited manpower and budget made it difficult for Tsung Shih to maintain momentum for product R&D and design and put enough workers in production lines at the same time.
Tsung Shih used to implement traditional industrial robots in its product lines prior to the implementation of cobots. Although they did boost productivity, the robots took up too much space in the factory. Plus, their industrial robots were not suitable for every product line. The productivity of product lines that still required manual labor was highly susceptible to the operators' own conditions, so it was difficult to maintain the same productivity and good production quality.
Video — UR5 Collaborative Robots - Tsung Shih Co., Ltd.
03 the solution
To tackle the challenges, Tsung Shih decides to use cobots, which are agile, light, safe and easily deployed, to fill the gap of human resources and optimize production efficacy. Moreover, the cobots can perform mundane, repetitive, and even riskier tasks, creating a safer and more comfortable workplace for the operators and attracting more younger people to join the company.
Tsung Shih has deployed two UR5 cobots to perform pick-and-place in packaging and label printing. The cobots take up fewer resources in the factory compared with industrial robots as they do not need designated spaces. After introducing cobots, Tsung Shih’s productivity has increased by 25%, while 20% of human resources have been freed up to handle tasks that require more professional skills.
Based on a thorough risk assessment, Tsung Shih deems that there was no need to build extra safety fences around the cobots. Also, since UR cobots do not take up large space, operators can perform feeding closely around the cobots. Thus, Tsung Shih utilizes the space in the factory to the utmost and eliminates the need to shut down industrial robots to perform feeding. On the other hand, UR cobots, unlike industrial robots, which require complex programming and configuration, have an intuitive system that allows quick setup. With the help of 3D graphical user interface on the cobot’s teach pendant, one can set up the desired movements and path for a cobot in no time after placing the cobot arm in the desired location.
Cobots can handle different tasks based on different manufacturing needs. For instance, one of Tsung Shih’s UR5 cobots needs to handle tasks in two different product lines, making quick transitioning a must. In fact, it only takes 5 to 10 minutes to uninstall a cobot from the packaging product line, reinstall it to the label printing one, and start its operation. As market needs continue to diversify, a lot of manufacturers will likely struggle to meet market needs in a timely manner. Tsung Shih is a good example of leveraging UR cobots to their production efficiency. During Tsung Shih’s transition to ODM, UR cobots freed up workers and resources for new product R&D and design, accelerating progress towards Tsung Shih’s goal of building its own brand.
When Tsung Shih first implemented cobots, they only needed one day of staff training to introduce their product line operators to cobot operation know-how. Today, the operators can operate the UR cobots by themselves, handling tasks such as temporarily shutting down the cobots, fine-tuning, and transitioning cobots to different production missions. Even when a minor malfunction occurs, the operators can fix it without having to wait for distributors or engineers to come and help. By doing so, cobots can be back into operation faster, and the staff now have a new set of skills, making them feel that they are more valuable to the company.
From left to right: Jay Yang, Director of Tsung Shih's He-Mei Factory, Ryan, Vice President of Tsung Shih and PHUNG HUNG CUONG, operator of Tsung Shih's He-Mei Factory
Tsung Shih has implemented UR5 cobots for pick-and-place missions, which has successfully improved productivity and production quality.
UR cobots can be quickly and flexibly deployed, meeting different manufacturing needs. A quick transition from one production mission to another only takes 5 to 10 minutes.
UR cobots' intuitive system setting enables quick setting of movements and paths alongside 3D operation on tablet computers. Also, factory workers can now fix minor malfunctions by themselves instead of waiting for repairment and thus losing productivity.
After conducting a thorough risk assessment, Tsung Shih deemed that there is no need to build extra safety fences around the cobots. In this way, workers can perform feeding closely around the cobots without needing to shut them down.
- Traditional industrial robots were too large in size;
- Shortage of product-line workers to meet production needs;
- Human workers failed to maintain the same productivity;
- Make the most out of limited factory space;
- Increase flexibility in human resource allocation;
- Maintain continued productivity and good production quality;
- Pick-and-place in packaging and label printing
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Cost-effective, safe and flexible collaborative robots - or cobots- are making automation easier than ever, even for the small and mid-sized companies.