Voodoo Manufacturing chose Universal Robots’ UR10 as it offered a seamless interface with a 2-finger gripper from Robotiq. “We got the UR10 out of the box and were able to get it running, adding the gripper at the end of arm within just a few hours,” said Jonathan Schwartz, Chief Product Officer of Voodoo Manufacturing.The gripper is part of the rapidly expanding Universal Robots+ platform that features plug & play products for UR robots. A UR+ product is tested and proven to run well with UR robots from day one, eliminating countless hours of trial and error when integrating robot arms with peripherals. Charles Fenwick, industrial engineer at Voodoo, explains how the fact that Robotiq’s gripper software was implemented right on the UR robot’s own teach pendant made programming the gripper almost like “building a Power Point.” “No other robot had the ability to easily interface with the peripherals required to get the complete application up and running,” he said. “In getting the gripper to work with the UR10, I just had to drag blocks of information onto the robot’s screen, link up the different blocks and it basically runs itself.”
Vodoo has 160 3D printers. By placing the UR10 on a mobile base roaming the 18,000 square feet premises, the company will be able to use the collaborative robot to tend one hundred printers. By adding another UR10 to its fleet, the startup will scale from 30–40 percent printer utilization to 90 percent. “And from here on out, as we scale, we can just buy more arms as we have more and more printers,” says Schwartz, who is not hesitant to call the automation setup, named Project Skywalker “a massive success.”
The key to tripling output is the fact that the UR10 robot can run overnight. “We can monitor the robot through our own software and access the status of any given printer to see whether it’s printing or idle, which means we can deploy this in our factory and run it 24/7 without any human oversight,” said Schwartz, who describes it as “magical” first morning he came in to find more than 30 completed print runs handled by the UR10 overnight.