Gear manufacturer decreases cycle time with On Robot dual gripper
L to R: co-founder Bilge Jacob Christiansen; co-owner and CEO Torben Ekvall; and co-founder Ebbe Overgaard Fuglsang. PHOTO: On Robot
Apr. 20, 2017 - Many years ago, U.S. senator Everett Dirksen is reported to have said, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.” Manufacturers looking to decrease the cycle times of robotic work cells might paraphrase Dirksen as follows: “A second here, a second there, and pretty soon we’re seeing real improvement in efficiency, throughput and profits.”
Seconds count in the manufacturing industry, and for Copenhagen, Denmark-based gear manufacturing company Osvald Jensen, collaborative robots (cobots) are the solution to speeding up work and improving the machine shop’s performance and productivity.
Room for improvement with dual gripper
Osvald Jensen uses cobots with the RG2 collaborative grippers from On Robot to load and unload their CNC machines. The robots would load a part, wait for the process to finish, unload the part, and pick up a fresh one — a perfect application that worked well for the company. And yet, there was still room for improvement on this single gripper solution.
“On Robot has developed a dual gripper solution, which compared to the single gripper, increases the productivity of the CNC machine simply by being able to handle two objects at the same time. We realized that with yet another cost-effective investment, we could improve our productivity even further,” says Christian Viereck, head of production at Osvald Jensen.
Cycle time decreased by 12 seconds
In a video documenting the cycle times of the single gripper and dual gripper from On Robot respectively, it becomes clear just how big a difference a dual gripper can make to a production’s cycle time. Where the single gripper performs the task in 27 seconds, the dual gripper finishes after a mere 15 seconds, winning the company 12 seconds on every cycle time.
By simply retrofitting their CNC machines with RG2 dual gripper from On Robot, Osvald Jensen has increased productivity on their CNC machines significantly in a very cost-effective way.
No need for human operators to be present constantly
This exhibits a promising prospect for the production industry, not only in areas with high labour cost, but also in countries with a tight labour market. The flexible, fast and affordable gripper is an investment that releases the vast potential in the already installed fleet of CNC machines.
Another benefit is how the RG2 can continue to work without an operator being present. When the lights are out and the humans have called it a day, the cobot and the collaborative grippers keep going, pushing up productivity considerably. The only thing the operators have to do is load the magazines with raw material.
Furthermore, installing cobots can help relieve workers from tedious and monotonous work, improve physical working conditions, and free up workers to spend time on more challenging tasks. And unexpected side benefit was, that the CNC machines, due to a much more stable and repetitive operation, started to produce parts, that were much closer to the ideal tolerances. The reason being, that temperature, humidity, etc., varied much less.
At Osvald Jensen, the RG2 has had an impressive ROI.
“To stay competitive in a high-cost country like Denmark, and at the same time demonstrate that we are a modern company, we have decided to invest in technology that gives us the best return. We have invested a lot in our CNC machines, and with collaborative robots, especially the On Robot gripper, we can, in a very cost-effective way, automate them. Therefore, in 2015, we invested in our first On Robot gripper and had a return on investment in less than three months,” Viereck explains.
An accessible technology, even for smaller companies
Cobots have spread across several markets in recent years. The food industry, health industry and manufacturers have discovered their many advantages and are using them in various daily operations. With their simplified automation, safe and user-friendly application, and high flexibility, cobots are designed explicitly to work alongside their human counterparts. In fact, they can offer a wide range of benefits to human workers, such as relieving repetitive or strenuous duties, lowering the risk of errors, and creating learning opportunities. This is accomplished through the high precision of the cobots, along with an easily maintained level of hygiene, and their ability to maintain a stable and uninterrupted work environment.
Part of their popularity can be accredited to their accessibility, so even small business owners can implement cobots in their operations, since they constitute a comparably affordable investment. With their lightweight and compact design, they are easy to integrate and even to move around. The straightforward programming of the cobots makes it equally easy to deploy, and redeploy, them for new and different tasks.
Based in Odense, Denmark, On Robot boasts innovative and customizable plug-and-play grippers that help manufacturers take advantage of the benefits of cobots. Its flagship product, the RG2, mounts directly on the cobot arm, and promises to be highly flexible and simple enough to be programmed and operated without the need for engineers. Founded in 2014, the company recently entered the North American market.
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