Higher productivity and competitiveness thanks to collaborative robots
How do you make yourself more competitive? – The result
By using the robot arms from Universal Robots, various objectives were achieved.
In particular, productivity and competitiveness have been significantly improved. This is mainly due to streamlined processes, which enable the employees to solve several tasks simultaneously. Finally, the individual workpieces are now more uniform and of higher quality.
The challenge in the company
A major challenge for BJ-Gear is the competitive pressure. The production of the various gear solutions in Denmark has become increasingly challenging. For this reason there was only one solution: optimization and automation where possible.
This is confirmed by Bjørn Sommer, Operations Manager at BJ-Gear: “Our goal is to make such a large part of the process and production run without human intervention – from raw product to finished workpiece”.
He has been working on the subject of Lean Enterprise for 15 years and since 2005 he has been leading the construction of a completely new optimized factory.
Until now, however, the company has hesitated to use robots. The payback time of the existing solutions was very high due to the high costs.
Costs of conventional robots
The solution from Universal Robots
Universal Robots’ solutions have completely changed BJ-Gear’s view of robots.
Bjørn Sommer sums up the successful use of the Cobots: “The flexible lightweight robots UR5 and UR10 are so inexpensive that the costs have been recouped very quickly. Our calculations show that the cost of a robot from Universal Robots has been recovered in less than a year”.
In total, BJ-Gear uses four robot solutions from Universal Robots. One of the collaborating robots is a UR5. This robot is used to paint pre-assembled gears with a normal spray gun. Thanks to the automation of these painting operations, there was a higher quality of results and one employee could turn to other tasks. At the same time, the working environment has been improved, as employees spend less time in the paint booth.
UR5 robot at BJ-Gear
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Up to now BJ-Gear has only painted one product series. With new possibilities, however, in the future it will be possible to paint workpieces in random order. According to Bjørn Sommer, this will soon be possible: “A chip in the equipment that defines the painting program enables a scanner to send a message to the UR5 with information about which program and which color is desired. This will optimize the production flow and shorten delivery times.”
With the two other UR5 robots, the older equipment was modernized and automated. The deburring and punching of gear wheels could be fully automated with one robot. It finishes the workpieces. The other collaborating robot works on three machines simultaneously. He operates a lathe, a cutting machine and an automatic washing machine. Without the involvement of an employee, 100 units per hour can be produced in this way.
The last collaborating robot is a UR10. It is used to automate processes with workpieces weighing more than 5 kg.
UR5 Cobot at BJ-Gear
“The flexible lightweight robots UR5 and UR10 are so inexpensive that the costs are amortized very quickly. Our calculations show that the cost of a robot from Universal Robots has been recovered in less than a year.”