Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Chinese energy company Wasion employs Sawyer robots on assembly line

October 28, 2016
By Rethink Robotics

Oct. 27, 2016 – Wasion Group says it has seen “significant growth” since deploying Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer robots this June on its assembly line for manufacturing single-phase energy meters.

As an international provider of energy metering products and solutions, Wasion Group produces 35 million units of various smart metering, power and energy management equipment annually. With a diversified product portfolio, Wasion’s production lines need to accommodate a range of products in lower volumes. The company has been vigorously looking for highly flexible automation solutions in an effort to optimize production in a highly customized environment, in an effort to meet changing market demands and expedite delivery.

“We see smart manufacturing as a significant driver of our company’s growth. We are just beginning to introduce this level of automation into our manufacturing processes, and we are pioneering the practice in China. Deploying Rethink Robotics’ smart, collaborative robots will enable us to speed up our production and migrate to smart manufacturing,” said Liao Qianzhong, general manager of production centre, Wasion Group Ltd. “We have already seen positive results from our initial deployment of Sawyer, and we also see tremendous potential for wider use in our operations.”

With the support and training of Rethink Robotics’ designated technical team, Wasion completed the deployment of Sawyer for its assembly line of single-phase energy meters. Sawyer robots are now used at multiple work stations: loading electric meter boxes; PCBA loading and assembling; power testing and code scanning; carrier loading and assembly and more.

Productivity has improved by 45 per cent, while operational costs have decreased by 25 per cent and the part defect rate has dropped by more than 50 per cent, according to the company.

“Wasion advocates innovation, and we encourage our team to embrace new technologies. Collaboration with Sawyer increases our employees’ efficiency and supports them to pursue innovation,” said Qianzhong. “The workers who were previously on the assembly line will be retrained and assigned to other value-adding positions.”

Wasion said it expects to invest RMB 159 million in smart manufacturing in the coming years, primarily on metering and electrical equipment production, as well as research and development. The company believes robotics technologies, especially collaborative robots, will play a pivotal role in its visionary plan.

“With the introduction of the Made in China 2025 initiative, China is aggressively addressing rising wages and gaps in productivity through smart manufacturing,” said Jim Lawton, chief product and marketing officer at Rethink Robotics. “Sawyer is playing a significant role in this transformation for companies like Wasion Group with its ability to shift between a variety of tasks, adapt to the variability of the factory and improve production quality.”

— Article supplied by Rethink Robotics
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