Automation firm rehomes robots to help overcome adoption challenges

Automation spare parts and repairs company, Northern Industrial has taken delivery of two robots previously employed on production lines in Germany to help ensure the integrity of its repair work and spare components before delivery.

Machinery breakdowns are not only stressful, they’re expensive too - image courtesy of Northern Industrial.
Machinery breakdowns are not only stressful, they’re expensive too – image courtesy of Northern Industrial.

Installed at the Northern Industrial’s 30,000 sqft repair facility, the Kuka KRC2 KR125L-3 and KR150 robots are expected to be used as a testing ground for teach pendants, axis drives and motion controllers that the company supplies and repairs for customers involved in food and drink, print and packaging, engineering and aerospace.

The robots are more commonly found in automotive plants, however, they are applicable in a wide range of industries, from packaging to processing. They are expected to help the company test and ensure all repair works have been successful and parts are in full working order ahead of shipping.

The Blackburn-based company provides reconditioned and obsolete parts and repair services to customers in 132 countries.  Sourcing parts from more than 1,350 manufacturers, the multi-award-winning company covers over 200,000 part numbers and reportedly holds approximately £7m in stock.

Managing director, David Lenehan explained: “At Northern Industrial, we are in the business of keeping factory processes up and running, so adopting these robots ourselves will help us stay at the forefront of the movement, to support our customers in their own robot adoption.

“In the modern economy, ever changing customer expectations and demands are meaning manufacturers need advanced production systems to keep up.

“New robot technologies provide the flexibility to meet these demands. But with increased flexibility comes increased complexity. And, simply put, increased complexity means more things can go wrong.

“With the amount of signalling, peripheral equipment and tooling involved, robot processes are, by nature, complicated and the latest developments only increase that, adding to risks of damage and longer production schedules.”

Machinery breakdowns are not only stressful, they’re expensive too – a recent report suggested they cost an average of $260,000 an hour across all businesses, with two episodes of downtime lasting four hours each equates to more than $2m.