Pick and place robot frees up two labour hours daily

Posted on 17 Aug 2017 by Jonny Williamson

A Danish printing company has reduced non-productive wait time while improving the work environment and freeing up two labour hours in capacity per day by investing in a new collaborative robot arm.

The collaborative pick and place robot robot arm automates processes and manual tasks, where precision is crucial – image courtesy of Universal Robots.
The collaborative pick and place robot robot arm automates processes and manual tasks, where precision is crucial – image courtesy of Universal Robots.

InPrint is a medium-sized supplier of printed materials and carries out a broad range of printing tasks.

Production often involves heavy lifting and operator downtime while the machines are printing, so the decision was made to invest in a collaborative robot arm – supplied by Universal Robots.

Søren Nielsen, responsible for large-format production at InPrint, explained why the pick and place robot would be so advantageous: “It takes four minutes to print a plate and during these four minutes our print operators have to wait until the machine gives a “beep”.

“Then the operator replaces the plate with a new one and waits again. I noticed that for the most part the operator just waited.”

With a reach of up to 130 cm, UR10 is the largest robot that Universal Robots offers. It automates processes and manual tasks, where precision is crucial. And by using the integrated force mode, the robot arm can grab the plates and move them up to a facility in the printer so that they are precisely in place.

Nielsen continued: “In four months, we have produced 4,500 plates on one of the machines, where the robot handles the plates at an average speed of two minutes. This has freed up a total capacity of 150 labour hours and saved around DKK45,000 [more than £5,000] in time savings alone.

“Standing by a machine waiting for it to say “beep” can drive you crazy. The person who used to wait for the machine now takes care of other important tasks.”

Efficiency hasn’t been the only advantage the robot offers, according to Nielsen. The printing company is reportedly now able to undertake work that wasn’t viable before – first and foremost digital tasks with very large print runs.

He concluded: “We are now competitive in areas that were previously beyond our capacity. Quite simply because we can now have the robot do the repetitive work of one employee, who now handles other tasks.”

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