Robot cell pays off at castings firm

Posted on 13 Mar 2019 and read 508 times
Robot cell pays off at castings firmABB’s (www.new.abb.com) machine-tending robot cells have helped Walsall-based Castings plc — a specialist producer of cast metal products — to dramatically improve its productivity.

Working 24hr a day to load and unload grinding machines used in the production of castings for the automotive industry, the cells have enabled the company to increase its output by 50% — and cut cycle times by 50%.

Previously, the company’s CNC grinding machines were loaded and unloaded manually, with one operator assigned to two machines.

This resulted in long periods of ‘dead’ time, limiting the productivity of both the operator and the machines.

There was also the risk of operator injury, caused by lifting heavy components in and out of the machines.

Castings plc wanted the machines to be able to produce 2,500 different components. To help evaluate whether robots could achieve this, the company first installed a pilot cell in 2015.

Using an ABB robot, an imaging system and a conveyor belt, the cell proved that it could deliver the flexibility the firm was looking for.

The success of the trial cell led to another 12 machine-tending cells being installed by May 2017, all commissioned with the help of ABB.

The cells are used to handle a range of components weighing up to 5kg, with each currently programmed to handle 90 different part types.

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