A helping hand: Robotic arm optimises production at precision engineering company
Rising wages, space constraints, and safety issues created a challenging work environment for precision engineering company, Sky Engineering. Struggling to reduce their production costs, the company finally succeeded with the implementation of a robotic arm in one of their CNC machines. Now, the company has the luxury of having one man tend to two machines.
With wages on the rise and skilled labour increasingly hard to come by, Singapore-based precision engineering company, Sky Engineering, faced the challenge of keeping production costs at a competitive level. Operations Manager William Kuek, set out to find an industrial robot to solve the potentially crippling problems.
“Our facility operates 24/7. It is imperative that the company automates mundane repetitive tasks in order to keep costs low”, he explains.
Apart from efficiency, also space and safety issues had to be considered. Towering real estate prices meant limited room for expansion in the production facility and, in turn, that employees worked within close proximity of the machinery.
Upon thorough research, Sky Engineering found that Universal Robots could deliver on all parameters and decided test the UR5 robotic arm in a CNC machine. The job: To assist with various cleaning and preparation tasks.
The company quickly discovered that new ‘colleague’ allowed one man to operate two machines at a time — something previously impossible when all tasks relied heavily on manual labour – significantly reducing costs.
At the same time, the built-in force sensor of the robot arm resolved both safety and space issues by allowing employees to work near the robot. And the user-friendly programming made it possible for employees to program the robotic arm themselves – even without prior experience with industrial robots.
Sky Engineering was especially pleased with the ROI as cost reductions lead to a payback period of only 15 months.