Robotics

Robot arm relieves working strain in final assembly

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Skilled workers can dedicate themselves to new tasks and obtain new qualifications

Besides the improved worker health aspect, the integration of the UR5 brought with it an increase in high-quality tasks for the workforce. In one case, the firm found new tasks in quality control and process monitoring for the skilled workers who were previously involved in the monotonous screwdriving action in final assembly. The team has learned a lot of new things due to the robot. Mataio Goding, production manager at Assa Abloy NZ, tells the story: “Thanks to Victoria, our workers have discovered a deeper sense of meaning in their activities by gaining new qualifications. Our long-term personnel, for example, now take over the responsible task of training auxiliary personnel for work with the UR robot and lending them support.”

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Finally, this automation solution brought positive results not only in the personnel area. In the same measure as staff found it a strain to carry out the same movement again and again for many hours, the new robot colleague makes light work of this process. Here the high repetition accuracy of the UR5 guarantees a final assembly without discrepancies. Because of the exact execution of the screwdriving process, Victoria furthermore reduces the risk of an over-tightening of the screws. Goding is enthusiastic about the results: “The consistency of the assembly process has led to a substantial increase in our quality.” With the help of Universal Robots, Assa Abloy NZ can happily maintain its motto “Any lock, any time, in any colour” and guarantees delivery of its products within only two days – a competitive advantage which could only be achieved previously with mass production.

Amortisation in an estimated 12 months

Since UR robots offer all the advantages of modern robot automation, yet without the usual costs for integration, programming and protective measures for work cells, Assa Abloy NZ calculates that the UR5 was amortised within 12 months. Enabling factors here were also the greater process stability and the simultaneous improvement in the firm’s efficiency.

Against the background of the successful introduction of Victoria, the manufacturer is already busy in its New Zealand works with the development of a further robotic application from Universal Robots. The plan is for two UR5s to produce door straps in 22 product variants. For this, the flexibility of the robots will play a decisive role. With their light and space-saving design, they present no problems in being used for various applications without any elaborate adaptation of the production layout – even for small batches. “Traditional automation solutions were, until now, simply not cost-effective enough for our production environment. Universal Robots finally made it possible for us to realise automation in areas where we had previously thought it was impossible,” explains Simkin. The robot technology from UR will thus lead Assa Abloy NZ to new growth in the future as well – innovatively and collaboratively.

* Helmut Schmid is general manager Western Europe & CEO of the Universal Robots (Germany) GmbH in 81379 Munich, Tel. (00 49-1 60) 93 49 12 27, hsh@universal-robots.com

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