Automation In Action
Evidence of Our Automated Products at Work
Automation Consulting Specialists
As automation consulting specialists, we have helped bring automated processes to life for many facilities. Our collaborative automation consulting services ensure that every detail is covered from design to installation.
Our case studies are evidence of our automated products in action:
We were approached by a Lost Wax Casting company to look at automating one of their processes. Currently, our customer produces wax casts of their part.
These parts are then manually fixed to a wax cylinder by using a heat source to slightly melt the wax on both the part and the cylinder.
This cylinder is then used to produce a plaster mould that can then produce a metal cast part. Our customer wanted to automate the fixing of the wax cast parts to the cylinder.
One of our Wilson cells is ideal for this process. With two robots in the cell, we were able to install a robot that can place the parts to the cylinder and a robot to control the heat source.
By using 3D printed grippers, we were able to offer an affordable gripper solution that allows multiple parts to be produced in the same cell.
The trays that are inserted into the cell use an RFID tag, so that the robots know which program to run, making the cells appear to be plug and play to the user.
An operator will load the wax cast parts to the grippers situated in the tray and then load the tray into the cell. When the cycle is finished, the tray is replaced by a new set of parts, loaded while the first tray was being processed.
When a cylinder is full, it is easily unloaded from the second load point, with a new cylinder loaded into position.
Three cells can be manned by one operator, giving a head count saving of two heads and a saving over a five-year payback period of 28% when comparing the purchase price of the system and the one head of labour to run it against the three heads that were previously producing the parts.
Turnkey Project – Casting
An aluminium casting company based in the West Midlands asked us to review their manual processes to identify what could benefit from automation.
We visited site and spent a few hours viewing the different processes before leaving to produce a report showing our recommendations.
We offer this no obligation site visit to discuss automation options to all potential customers.
From the site visit, we could easily rule out an option that our customer was considering pursuing. An aluminium casting cell that made small quantities of lots of different parts was something that the company wanted our automation consulting services for.
We believed that this cell was not a good candidate for automation as many fixtures would need designing and manufacturing, one for each of the parts produced in the cell.
However, next to this cell were two cells that produced the same parts consistently every day. This cell was a much better candidate for consideration as the amount of handling tools (for both finished parts and sand casts) would be minimised and the chance of a good business case for automating could be produced.
Finally, a cell that was not even considered for automation by our customer was recommended for further investigation in our automation consultation report. After the casting process, a finishing process takes place, where the excess aluminium produced on each part as part of the casting process is cut and fettled away, allowing the part to move to the machining stage.
This process seemed labour intensive for all parts and is repeatable work that is well suited to automation.
Ultimately, after a further engineering stage, it was found that a business case couldn’t quite be proved for the casting cells, but the finishing cell was a huge opportunity for the casting company.
By producing a two robot cell that would run on both day and night shifts, 16 parts could be automated. The automated cells needed two heads per shift to run (so four in total across two shifts) compared to fifteen heads required to manually finish the parts.
Across a five-year payback period the cell produced a 41% saving when comparing the purchase price of the system and the four heads of labour to run it against the fifteen heads that were previously producing the parts. The automated cell would pay for itself after 27 months through labour savings alone.
Our customer also agreed that the new system produced intangible benefits, such as better quality and a reduction in scrap when using the automated system.
Our customer was not even aware that this process would be a good candidate for automation, and it was only through our no obligation site visit that we were able to identify this to them.
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