Video: Robot Lets Short-Run Shop Take on Large-Quantity Work
The robot needing no guarding on the shop floor offers an accessible way for a shop to expand its capacity by running unattended through nights and weekends.
Denver-area machining business Tag Team Manufacturing has historically focused on prototyping and short-run work. When the shop had the opportunity to take on a large-quantity job, it wasn’t sure how it would deliver the parts with its current capacity and staffing. The margin between order date and ship date seemed to tight produce all the parts.
According to CEO Terry Taggart in this video, the solution the company found was a “Sawyer” robot from Rethink Robotics. This collaborative robot is easy to program, easy to relocate, and works safely on the shop floor alongside employees without any need for guarding, because the force-sensing robot stops in the event of any contact with an obstacle that might be a human. With this robot feeding the machine through the night and through weekends, Tag Team now has the capacity to fill this large order—and other large-quantity jobs that may come.
Watch the video to see how Tag Team batches several pieces within each machining cycle. The robot loads four pieces of raw stock per cycle, and each of these steel pieces is machined into five parts for a total of 20 units produced per run.
Several exhibitors at the recent EMO show in Hannover, Germany, featured demonstrations of robotic arms wielding live cutting tools such as end mills or face mills. Perhaps the most dramatic demo was presented by Delcam to showcase this CAM developer’s PowerMill Robot Interface.
This shop justified the robot solely through improved use of labor. Other benefits came to light after the automation arrived.
In metalworking, a shop's move from one level of automation to the next can be a business-busting decision if badly timed. This article looks at what you should consider when taking the next step toward automating an operation.