Based in Vietnam’s Quang Ninh province, Vinacomin Motor Industry Joint Stock Company (VMIC) is a subsidiary of the Vinacomin Group, a state-owned coal and mining giant. VMIC supports the Vinacomin Group and other industry players with the production of spare parts for mining trucks.
The over half-a-century-old establishment, reliant on manual processes, struggled with low productivity and inconsistent quality from relying heavily on manual processes. Through the deployment of two UR10 cobots, the company has seen productivity increase two to three times and consistent product quality. This has led to a 50-60 percent rise in orders and subsequently to an increase in workers’ income.
Manual work dominated processes at VMIC, resulting in low productivity and inconsistent quality. Customer numbers and orders were low as well, affecting workers’ income. Taking a cue from global players, the company realized that it was imperative to embrace automation to enhance efficiency, boost its competitive edge and remain sustainable.
Seeing first-hand the benefits of automation during visits to international production facilities, VMIC reached out to local automation systems integrator Vnstar Automation JSC (Vnstar) to automate their processes. Vnstar is a partner of Servo Dynamics Engineering (Servo), a Universal Robots (UR) distributor in Vietnam. “Our observations and the fact that UR is the leading cobot manufacturer globally, gave us the confidence to choose the brand,” said Mr Pham Xuan Phi, VMIC Chief Executive Officer. This, along with the proactive and responsive technical support, and the fast cobot delivery, supported their decision to purchase a UR10 cobot. The cobot’s in-built safety features, enabling it to stop when a force exceeding the robot’s safety preset settings is detected, its user friendliness and the fact that a safety fence was not required, were also key deciding factors.
In September 2018, VMIC added some sparkle to its factory floor after winning the Gold Edition UR10; its second cobot. The unique golden cobot was given to one customer in each of UR’s worldwide geographical area to mark the company’s 25,000 cobot sale. VMIC was the winner in Southeast Asia and Oceania.
“All of us, from the management right down to each employee, felt very proud and excited to receive the golden cobot. To us, it was very much like receiving an innovation award to further advance our processes,” explained Mr Pham. VMIC worked with Vnstar and Servo to program the cobots to undertake two tasks; pick and place and machine tending. Though new to robotics, the engineering team successfully deployed the cobots and integrated all necessary accessories within 25 to 30 days after three days of theoretical training and two days of hands-on experience.
“Our employees initially thought it would be a challenge to deploy and work with the cobots but in fact, it was not that complex. The cobots’ advanced safety functions enable our workers to work alongside the cobots safely, with no fencing. No changes were needed to the work space, saving costs while improving productivity,” said Mr Le.
Mr Pham Xuan Phi, Chief Executive Officer at Vinacomin Motor Industry Joint Stock Company
Our observations and the fact that Universal Robots is the leading cobot manufacturer globally, gave us the confidence to choose the brand
The deployment of the UR10 cobots also mean that fewer workers need to be stationed at the factory floor. As a result, some have been transferred to manage higher-value tasks. The company is confident of achieving ROI within just one to two years, faster than the Vietnam standard for such robotic investments of six to eight years.
The successful adoption of Universal Robots at VMIC has greatly benefited the company, ensuring that the over a-century-old establishment has up-to-date processes and is equipped for the future. The company has also become exemplary among local players for being one of the first state-owned manufacturers in Vietnam to deploy cobots. The company hopes to add three to five more UR cobots to its production site, working closely with their systems integrator partners to determine suitable processes for automation.
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