FROM MSMES TO MNCS: EMPOWERING AUTOMATION FOR INDIAN BUSINESSES OF ALL SIZES
Collaborative robot (cobot) arms from Universal Robots complete hundreds of operational tasks every day in large and small Indian enterprises alike. Below you will find the stories of a selection of business cases of companies that have taken the step towards Industry 4.0 by deploying collaborative robots to automate various production and manufacturing tasks, and reaped immeasurable benefits through Human Robot Collaboration.
Universal Robots Supports Aurolab’s Vision for Quality Eyecare Products
Non-profit organization Aurolab, part of Aravind Eye Care System, was seeking a solution that would help reduce the cost of manufacturing intraocular lenses (IOLs), an important component for vision restoration that was being imported to India at exorbitant rates.
The NGO experimented with their first cobot, a UR5. Happy with the results, the company deployed 7 more cobots. Aside from the Human Robot Collaboration that enabled safety on Aurolab’s production floor, the cobots were so easy to use that even high school graduates, who were largely employed by the NGO, were taught how to program and use them as tools to optimize production, despite no prior experience with robots. The cobots also enabled running late night shifts, which was difficult before since the company had a primarily female workforce, who now simply had to program the robots to run. Not only did this empower the young women through upskilling, it optimized the manufacturing process of IOLs by taking care of labor-intensive highly repetitive activities such as material handling and pick & place of components, eradicating the risk of accumulated physical strain.
Today, Aurolab has brought down the cost of IOLs drastically, and processes 10,000 lenses per day (2,000,000 lenses a year) – each of which is handled by a cobot from Universal Robots.
Bajaj Auto Implements the First Cobots in India and Empowers Women in Manufacturing
Bajaj Auto, one of the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturers, boldly deployed the first collaborative robots in India in 2010, and now has over 100 cobots on their production line in Chakan. Bajaj Auto’s production grounds were highly labor-intensive, space-challenged, and physically taxing because of huge amount of repeated movements requiring precision. This was especially strenuous for the company’s female staff, who comprised 50% of their workforce.
Armed with cobots, however, Bajaj addressed the ergonomic risks faced by its workforce, using cobots to simplify tasks once performed by their staff, thereby removing fatigue and promoting consistency – a key win for Bajaj. Over 100 cobots were tasked for a variety of tasks, including material handling, machine tending, patented decal application, vision application, bolt tightening and welding. As a result, production was standardized and improved due to the compactness, flexibility, and ease of use of UR’s collaborative robots. The cobots, therefore, enabled one of India’s most loved brands to carry out its vision for high quality bikes, while also upskilling and empowering its workforce to proudly work with this new technology.
Cobots Take Over the Heavy Lifting at L’Oréal India
The end-of-the-line operations posed a severe ergonomic risk to workers at L'Oréal India’s plant in Pune, where a single operator would handle 8,500 kilograms per shift while manually palletizing. L'Oréal’s mission to create a safer work environment led them to Universal Robots. Now, 2 UR10 cobots are used for automatic palletization, and other than a 5% OEE improvement, the cobots have completely eradicated the ergonomic risk to staff. The zero-maintenance cost and easy programming also made UR cobots the ideal robot choice for the company, as well as the flexible redeployment, which has enabled the L'Oréal team to independently move and use the cobot on different lines.
Single Cobot Handles Three Machines at ZEISS
In an effort to solve the issues created by changing production lines with cumbersome, inflexible manual loading systems, Carl ZEISS Metrology Centre integrated a UR5 cobot with three measuring machines, where it performed quality inspection, pick & place and lab analysis & testing in sync with the other machines’ tasks. This increased flexibility, machine utilization by over 90% and enabled 24x7 manufacturing without the need of additional manpower.
Family-owned SME, New Engineering Works, Realizes World-Class Manufacturing with Cobots
Father-son duo made it their mission to turn Jharkhand-based SME New Engineering Works into a world-class manufacturer. To match their growing production demand, they scouted for the perfect technology to meet their needs in their limited operational space, and discovered UR’s collaborative robots. They deployed 6 UR10 cobots within 18 months, with each fitting perfectly between 2 CNC machines, making for 6 cobots tending to a total of 12 CNC machines.
Interestingly, the deployment of cobots did not cause existing staff to lose their jobs – rather, workers were upskilled to do more valuable work, while cobots handled the dull and repetitive tasks they once had. “Consider what you are investing and what will be the returns – I’ve seen that the ROI is very good. We’re already planning to get more [cobots] in the future,” shares Binod Kumar Aggarwal, Managing Director at New Engineering Works. Thanks to the implementation of cobots, the SME grew by 40% and can now manufacture 24x7.
UR10 Enables CATI to Turn the Make in India Dream into a Reality
After extensively researching the market for the best solution for their SME, Prashant Umbrani found cobots to be the perfect answer for CNC machine tending and quality inspection at Craft and Technik Industries (CATI), a Pune-based manufacturer that exports 70% of their products. Other than fitting perfectly on the shopfloor and safely sharing the space with humans without any caging, the cobot has allowed for perfectly timed operations. Over 40,000 parts have been manufactured with 0 customer rejections, with the UR10 having enabled a 15-20% increase in production.
Prashant Umbrani, CEO of CATI, states, “Cobots are not just the prerogative of large-scale companies – the time has come for SMEs to also be automated. Those who run VMCs and CNCs do not need to think about payback period as you will inevitably see ROI.”
10-person MSME, Shruti Engineers, takes a step in the direction of Industry 4.0
Being an MSME didn't stop Suhas Pitke of Shruti Engineers from taking a bold step in the direction of Industry 4.0 and deploying a collaborative robot. A single UR10 used for CNC machine tending has increased efficiency from 300 to 400 parts per day, ensuring that quality line items reach his customers on time. Despite no prior experience with robots, Mr. Pitke and his staff were able to learn the programming of a cobot from Universal Robots within a day, and the cobot has empowered the 10-person Indian business to stay ahead of the manufacturing game.
A Single Cobot Delivers SMEW Textile Machinery ROI Within a Year!
A family-run business established in 1958 took the leap to automate their operations by deploying a UR10 cobot for a pick and place operation. SMEW Textile Machinery, based in Ahmedabad, found that the +/- 360 degree movement feature of the cobot made it ideal to fit in a constrained place on their production floor, and help the business improve precision in the manufacturing of textile-winding machines. SMEW surpassed its goals with a 300% improvement in output, as well as an ROI within a year of deployment that has enabled the company to evolve from an MSME to an SME.
Sri Sai Markers and Engravers Paints the Way to Better Quality
Sri Sai Markers and Engravers began in 2013 with a manpower of 2-3 people, and transformed into a 100-employee SME by 2018. Sri Sai supplies components to some of India’s largest automobile companies, and found that there was an increasing demand from their clients for automated spray painting in a country where it is mostly done manually. This is especially driven by the immense precision required in ensuring high-quality laser engravings on the products.
One of Sai’s biggest concerns was a robotic solution that would fit in a confined space, something they found was easily addressed by the UR5, which works safely right next to a human co-worker on their shop floor. Another huge plus for the SME was that the cobot could be flexibly deployed by Sai’s very own employees to carry out various applications on the shop floor, thereby ensuring no loss of jobs. Sri Sai Markers & Engravers witnessed immense improvements in merely 2 months, with a huge reduction in rate of rejections and rework.
The Perfect Automation Solution for Udhaiyam Dhall
Mass-food manufacturer Sri Lakshmi Agro Foods, was established over 85 years ago, and is responsible for some of India’s largest staple food brands, including Udhaiyam Dhall. The company was seeking to automate their production lines for a greater consistency of output, and was especially concerned about finding the right solution for secondary packaging, which was solved with the deployment of the UR5.
S. Sudhakar, Managing Director at Sri Lakshmi Agro Foods, found that UR’s human-friendly cobots were key in empowering the company to meet high levels of demand, especially during holidays like Diwali, by ensuring 24x7 output. Having a primarily female workforce, the UR5 cobot helper was particularly vital in enabling uninterrupted productivity so that women would not have to work late night shifts.
Anti-Rust Oil Application with the Limited Edition Golden Robot at NEW Engineering Works
The Golden Robot was gifted to New Engineering Works to celebrate the 25,000 cobots sold by Universal Robots globally. The SME, which had already earlier installed 6 cobots for CNC machine tending, decided to deploy this limited edition cobot to spray anti-rust oil on their auto components. With this new addition to the family, the manufacturer completed the task consistently in less time and with 25% less wastage through its hassle-free human robot collaboration in the smallest spaces.
COBOTS PAVE the path to zero quality rejections at blue star
Blue Star Limited is one of India’s leading manufacturers of air conditioning and commercial refrigeration products. The plant in Wada, Maharashtra, was facing issues of quality rejection as a result of the mental and physical stress caused by the repetitive but vital task of copper tube expansion, which was done manually. The manufacturer deployed collaborative robots and AI technologies to take over the task and completely eradicated the stress and ergonomic risk, empowering the company to increase their production by 10% and eradicate quality rejects, delivering their vision of high-quality products.
COLLABORATIVE CLASSROOMS: COBOTS CREATING INDUSTRY-READY STUDENTs
Founded in 1951, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, is one of India's leading engineering colleges. Their BE Robotics and Automation program started in 2011 and was the first of its kind in the state of Tamil Nadu.
It is the vision and mission of PSG College to ensure that students have access to the latest technology. Funded by a Government of India initiative, the college decided to invest in the UR5 from Universal Robots to create an enriching experience in the classroom, incorporating collaborative robots in their robotics program and encouraging students to become industry-ready by working with this Industry 4.0 technology. In order to also spur the growth of surrounding manufacturers in Coimbatore, PSG College also offers courses to local industry professionals to train them in collaborative robot technology.
COLLABORATIVE RObots helping in irrigation
Krishi Group is a manufacturer of agricultural equipment, which is categorized by the Indian Government as Essential Category Goods that may be produced during the COVID-19 pandemic since they meet the needs of farmers. In a time where the company is working with only 50-60% of their staff in order to follow social distancing measures and limit the spread of contagion, the SME found their cobot to be especially useful in the inspection process, enabling them to meet demands without compromising on quality. The company has learned to redeploy their cobot for numerous applications over the years, including machine tending, injection moulding, and quality inspection.
COLLABORATIVE RObots helping DELL in PACKAGING
Multinational computer technology manufacturer Dell owns around 17% of the worldwide PC market share. The tech giant was looking to increase its production efficiency by automating its electronics assembly lines and testing facilities at their plant in Chennai – one of Dell's only ten manufacturing plants in the world. Keeping in mind the delicate nature of electrical parts and the high levels of production that take place every day, Dell deployed a cobot in 2017 for end of line packaging. The cobot performed the physically challenging task of lifting heavy systems for packaging, while their employees simply needed to place cushions around the systems. thus reducing the ergonomic risk that Dell's workers once faced. Since then, the company has deployed 3 more cobots to perform various tasks across their assembly lines, increasing production efficiency while maintaining safety.
For Dell, cobots turned out to be the perfect automation solution for end of line packaging and handling delicate electronics assembly tasks, thereby upskilling employees by re-assigning them from low-skilled tasks to higher-value activities.
Dell has even found their cobots to be of additional value in the COVID-19 pandemic, when the company has production demands to meet but must ensure safety of their employees. By having a human and cobot work together instead of multiple people handling a task, Dell facilitates social distancing on their factory floor.
COLLABORATIVE ROBOTS HELP EMPLOYEES SHINE AT CONTINENTAL, INDIA
(Image for representation purposes: Collaborative Robots at Continental Automotive, Spain)
Continental is one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers. Before, their manufacturing plants consisted of machines handled by operators. The jobs were highly repetitive in nature, making the operators prone to fatigue and many ergonomic risks. This in turn used to result in many human errors, slowing down the production lines and failing to meet the high standards of quality Continental strives to achieve. The company was also plagued with many machine breakdowns due to these issues.
The automotive giant deployed a collaborative robot 3 years ago and integrated it with their machines, which were previously operated on by their employees. Amar Burud, Senior Manager – Industrial Engineering at Continental India, found cobots to be a much more convenient solution than traditional robots due to many reasons. For starters, thanks to the collaborative nature of cobots, the Continental team did not have extra expenses to acquire protective fencing or safety curtains, which are a must for traditional robots. Installing a traditional robot meant that the additional accessories that came with it would bring more problems than solutions.
Cobot installations at the Continental plant awed their customers, who could now watch the cobots perform tasks with absolute precision, making their visits even more impressive and interactive. By watching and experiencing the level of automation that took place, customers became even more convinced about the quality and reliability of the products. With the help of cobots, the quality of manufacturing skyrocketed and Amar says that their customers could notice that as well. You can read more about Continental India’s journey with collaborative robots here.
UR South Asia in the news
Pradeep David (General Manager – South Asia, Universal Robots) discusses the role of collaborative robots in shaping the future of automation in India as part of the VDMA CEO Thought Leadership Series