The automotive sector is among the largest adopters of industrial automation especially the robots, in their production activities.
In fact, this trend is not new to the sector since the 1970s; a large part of the automotive industry was embracing large robot system in their operations.
However, as time went by the industry began experiencing changes. Plenty of customers seemed to prefer their cars being customized hence making the batch sizes in production become smaller and smaller. This development prompted the need for car manufacturers to be prepared for changes in production in order to meet their clients’ demands.
With the introduction of new generation robots known as collaborative robots by Universal Robots, many of the automotive companies found an opportunity to adopt a more efficient automation option other than the traditional industrial robots. Below are three specific cases of how these reputable automotive companies have embraced collaborative robots to achieve maximum production levels and produce high quality products to satisfy their clientele.
1. Nissan Motor Company
This is one of the well-established car brands worldwide and unfortunately, the company was facing a problem of an aging workforce and the need to minimize their spending on relief workers without compromising the efficiency of the production processes such as the ‘takt time.’ This is the level, which relates to the cycle time of a specific process; sometimes it may overrun thus the need to use relief workers.
To solve this problem, the company acquired two lines of UR10, collaborative robot arms from Universal Robots, at their Yokohama plant. The cobots were able to successfully solve the takt-overrun situation since they are flexible and have a low weight capacity enabling easy movement of the robot arms from one production site to any place where the takt time overruns and solve the problem. This has eliminated the company’s reliance on relief workers hence lowering their labor cost.
The cobots are also helpful in the process of installing engine block intake manifold where they work in collaboration with human workers.
2. Bajaj Auto
Bajaj Auto is the world’s third largest motorcycle manufacture. In 2010, the company became the first company to adopt the collaborative robots in India with the sole aim of increasing their production capacity by automating their assembly lines.
The company chose the collaborative robots from Universal Robots in order to gain a sustainable solution to their two-wheeler assembly lines, which are highly labor-intensive, spatially challenged and have physically taxing movements that require a high-end precision.
After spending three months testing the cobots in their facilities, they deployed them as a standardized solution for all its functional requirements. The robot arms and the employees collaboratively do activities like material handling and machine tending. The company also came up with a decal application to utilize fully the flexibility features of the manufacturing robots.
These advanced manufacturing robots from Universal Robots have proved to be very helpful in achieving high quality output since Bajaj workers use them to carry out repetitive jobs with faultless precision. This is one of the major factors contributing to the company’s incredible growth globally.
3. Continental Automotive
Continental is a leading Spanish automotive manufacturer. This multinational company has always focused on innovation but the problem it was facing was the dire need to improve their productivity since it operates within a highly competitive sector, the industry 4.0.
In 2016, the company decided to acquire several UR10 cobots to automate the manufacture and handling of the PCB boards. This move enabled them minimize the changeover times by 50%, from 40 minutes when done manually to 20 minutes by the cobots thus reducing operating costs.
The company has managed to control the robots decision by having a central electronic and robot controller point that allows them make any changes to the system without the help of outside experts thanks to the easy programming feature of the cobots. Cobots use also means that the workers no longer perform menial tasks and can concentrate on skilled jobs thereby increasing the overall productivity of the company.