Modern Machine Shop

JAN 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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BETTER PRODUCTION MMS JANUARY 2018 104 Shops Using Technology Vision-Guided Cobot Doubles Daily Production With the promise of "quality parts, made to print, delivered on time," Walt Machine of Lumberton, Mississippi, prides itself on its reliability, but it struggled in the face of a potential bottleneck. Every year, the company uses a single CNC machine to produce thousands of camera hous- ings in just two months' time. This short-term rise in production volume regularly strains its ability to fulfill the promise of its motto. To face this challenge, the company invested in a simple vision system from Robotiq of LĂ©vis, Quebec, Canada, and installed it on a collaborative robot (cobot) with a gripper system from Universal Robots (East Setauket, New York). Specializing in high-precision optical work for scientific camera assemblies, Walt Machine receives an order each spring for about 6,000 camera housings that it produces on its Haas VM-3. The size of this order might suggest that FACILITY Walt Machine Inc. Lumberton, Mississippi PROBLEM Needed to meet a short-term rise in production volume SOLUTION Robotiq wrist camera and a two-finger 140 gripper installed on a Universal Robot UR10 RESULTS Enabled lights-out production and reassignment of current staff company President Tommy Caughey should hire a full-time CNC operator in addi- tion to his regular staff, but this solution has its flaws. To start, it takes 30 to 45 minutes to machine one side of each camera housing. This means that, working eight hours a day, it takes several weeks to produce the full order with a single machine. In that timeframe, the parts would be almost ready for delivery by the time a new employee could be fully trained. Rather than invest in training an employee and worry about that person's retention between pro- duction rushes, Mr. Caughey considered a robotic solution. "I saw Universal Robots at the Interna- tional Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) maybe four or six years ago, and I found it interest- ing: a robot that does not require any extra stuff. Walt Machine's new cobot, which employees named "Arthur," doesn't improve cycle time, but it does improve job-complete time. EDITED BY ELI PLASKETT | ASSISTANT EDITOR

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