For an inner-city Cleveland contract manufacturing company with revenues in the range of $5 to $10 million, implementing collaborative robots could just be the answer for their biggest challenge—the lack of a reliable workforce.
The hardest jobs to fill were at the lower end of the pay spectrum, especially those jobs that include repetitive tasks and movements. "It has gone from tough to overwhelming in just a few months. Customers are busy, and we can't fill their orders. We're pushing business away."
Inspired by attending a Manufacturing Works workshop, the company investigated and purchased a collaborative robot (a "cobot"). Careful assessment of the company's unique requirements was critical in determining the most suitable cobot for their manufacturing processes.
Once the machine was purchased, installation was completed internally with assistance from interns. The hardware and software associated with cobots is not complicated, and their interns quickly became adept at performing the programming.
The use of collaborative robots to perform repetitive, low-value tasks has been very successful. "It's been a big addition. It's reliable. Our cobot team has enabled us to run parts around the clock for up to three weeks per month. That's the beauty of these things."
The company would not have been able to retain certain customer orders without the use of cobots to reliably perform secondary operations. It is now possible to manufacture products without dedicated people in all positions. This allows skilled workers to focus on higher level tasks and activities.
"Our cobot team has enabled us to run parts around the clock for up to three weeks per month. That's the beauty of these things."
What Else Should You Know About Collaborative Robots
A collaborative robot, or cobot, is a type of robot designed to work alongside human operators in a shared workspace. Unlike traditional industrial robots that are typically isolated behind safety barriers, collaborative robots are built with advanced safety features and sensors that allow them to operate safely in close proximity to humans.
The use of collaborative robots to perform repetitive, low-value tasks has been highly successful in many industries. Collaborative robots offer several advantages in automating such tasks, including:
- Increased efficiency
- Improved quality
- Cost savings
- Enhanced safety
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Employee satisfaction
For more information about Manufacturing Works' technology programs, contact Mike Yost, Director of Manufacturing Services.