Automation of a manual loading process
Success Story / March 3, 2023
Project target:Automated feeding and loading of semi-finished products
Product line: Automation & Engineering
Result: Output: + 20%
Cost reduction: - 70%
Starting situation / Challenge
Semi-finished metal products are processed on a hydraulic machine tool; the component is machined in various production steps according to the drawing requirements. Currently, the semi-finished products are taken manually from a box pallet and placed in the correct position in the tool or machine by the employee. The machining process is started by two-hand control. The employee manually removes the finished parts and places them in another goods carrier. This process is not optimal in terms of ergonomics, monotony, and economy. The customer has decided to automate the workplace accordingly, to create an attractive and economical workplace.
Project goal / Solution
The semi-finished products are to be provided/separated by means of a feeder. A robot removes the semi-finished product from the magazine and inserts it into the tool. The machining process is coordinated and started by means of signal exchange between the respective machines. The robot processes the respective magazines one after the other, the filling level is checked by sensors and thereby controls the working area of the robot. The goal is that the machine runs autonomously for a defined period of time and the employee, instead of inserting the components, is now responsible for regular quality control and filling the magazine. In addition, after the integration with the system and the robot, the employees will be trained to carry out new articles and programme the robot themselves.
After a detailed process analysis and definition of the framework conditions, the technical possibilities were examined and a concept was developed taking into account the process parameters and customer requirements. In a personal kick-off, the various project phases were harmonised together and the responsibilities were precisely defined in a project plan. After completion of the important milestone "design" and approval by the customer, the next step in the detailed planning was to schedule the date for pre-commissioning and the SOP (Start of Production) together with the customer. Since this was a "hybrid project" and the customer was responsible for the mechanical work, deviations could be solved proactively through a regular exchange. Therefore, the project was a complete success and all project phases could be completed within the agreed time frames.
Cycle time: ✅
Productivity: + 20%
Cost Reduction: - 70%
Customer satisfaction: ✅