The New World of Automotive Manufacturing: Cobots Optimize Quality, Output and ROI for OEMs and Suppliers
Whether you’re an automotive parts manufacturer, a Tier 1 supplier, or a vehicle OEM in a large automated plant, collaborative robots—or cobots—can help you increase productivity, improve product quality, reduce costs and boost profit margins so you can compete more effectively. Cobots can also help with today’s labor issues, making the working environment safer and more ergonomic and satisfying for employees, so you can boost retention rates and get higher value from your workers.
And we’re not the only ones saying that.
We recently presented a well-attended webinar with Automotive Design and Production magazine where we introduced case studies from multiple automotive suppliers and manufacturers. You can access the archived webinar here to get more details on how to implement cobots, their capabilities, and their advantages – along with ROI calculations. But here’s a snapshot of a few automotive applications to get your imagination all revved up.
The cobot is attached to a post, which goes under the vehicle in production. Two operators pull down the vehicle and block it on both sides. Then, UR10 follows a well-defined cycle: it inserts three screws on the right side and three on the left. It refolds itself at the end of the operation and two light bulbs light up to indicate if the work is correctly done. After that, the UR10 swivels itself back into operating position for another cycle before the arrival of the following car
PSA Group Uses UR Robots for its “Plant of the Future”
PSA Group is Europe’s second-largest car manufacturer, with brands that include Citroën, DS, Peugeot, Vauxhall and Opel. PSA Group needed to increase its factory performance, improve worker ergonomics, and reduce production costs as part of its “Plant of the Future” initiative. The company created an assembly line with UR10 robots mounted on a moving platform. Programming for the line took only a month, with amazing results:
- 200,000 cars produced on line in first year
- Zero failures reported
- 10% improvement in geometric dimensioning & tolerance (GD&T)
- Significant cost savings
- Improved worker ergonomics
- Multiple national and international patents filed
All Axis Machining Brings Legacy Equipment Up to Speed
All Axis Machining is a machine shop that was struggling with a lack of available manual labor and the challenge of automating legacy equipment with no direct interface for traditional industrial robots. With no robotics experience in-house, the company was amazed to find how easily they could integrate UR robots. Today, several robots can work around the clock automating CNC machine-tending, sanding, deburring, part inspection, laser marking and wire EDM. The company was so successful it launched a sister business helping other machine shops automate, after seeing its own immediate results:
- First automated job completed 2 ½ months early with 60% profit increase
- ROI for robot in 4 months
- Spindle up-time increased from 8 to 20 hours per day
- Accuracy and quality improved
BMW Improves Worker Safety and Improves Quality
The BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina used UR robots for a couple of applications with the goal of improving worker safety in repetitive, ergonomically unfavorable tasks. The applications include UR10 robots pushing a glue bead around a door panel with consistent pressure to improve accuracy and reduce rework, and inserting stiff rubber plugs into chassis, where repetitive injuries were occurring.
Tribar Manufacturing Gains Competitive Advantage
Tribar Manufacturing is a Tier 1 supplier for decorative badging, growing rapidly with new technology but facing inadequate staffing. UR applications include applying primer on vehicle deck lids with quality inspection using a vision camera, and a degating application for vehicle badges. Installation and programming were done in-house with a payback period of less than 9 months.
Results speak for themselves:
- Primer application
- 100% quality
- Savings on chemicals overused by manual labor
- Workers spared from exposure to chemical fumes
- Degating application
- Cycle time reduced more than 50%
- Better product quality with improved precision
- Risks of hand and wrist injuries eliminated
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We believe that collaborative robotic technology can be used to benefit all aspects of task-based businesses – no matter what their size.
We believe that the latest collaborative robot technology should be available to all businesses. The nominal investment cost is quickly recovered as our robotic arms have an average payback period of just six months.