Danish fabricator MVI Maskinfabrik originally specialised in small batch production with short lead times, but wanted to increase manufacturing flexibility to introduce new products: a new range of fittings for kitchen manufacturers, the wholesale market and general engineering applications. The company was also starting to receive larger orders and management was faced with the decision whether to increase manpower to service them. Investment in a collaborative robot from Universal Robots (UR) proved to be the right approach for this small business. It instantly provided the increased capacity and flexibility the company needed and, more specifically, resulted in welding time being cut by 50 per cent.
Factory owner Jens Christian Lægsgaard decided the UR5 was just what he was looking for within 30 minutes of seeing the cobot in action. It was subsequently integrated into the production line to replace an old welding robot that was four times the size of the UR5 and far less flexible. The UR5 was also much cheaper than buying a new, dedicated welding robot.
A welding torch was mounted to the UR5 and, apart from a few hours of assistance from Universal Robots, Jens Christian Lægsgaard taught himself how to operate the robot arm. In common with many other small businesses around the world, MVI Maskinfabrik, took advantage of the cobot’s intuitive programming and operation to get the device up and running in hours. And within days, the UR5 was MIG welding fittings in batches of 50 to several hundred.
Jens Christian Lægsgaard confirms: “It takes about 15–20 minutes to programme the robot arm for simple welding jobs, more advanced jobs take a little longer. Just now it has finished a batch of 100 with 14 welds per fitting. That job took around 1.5 hours to programme and the robot completed each fitting in 1.5 minute. Manually it would probably have taken four minutes per part.”
He continues: “The robot ensures that no time is wasted. It operates during the manual control and reworking of each item. If I had to do the work manually, I wouldn’t be able to weld the new item and remove the high spots from the previous item at the same time. Thanks to the UR robot I can save between 30 per cent and 50 per cent on working time per part by comparison with manual welding.”
The ability of the UR5 to increase productivity and with consistent accuracy has proved vital to MVI Maskinfabrik. Not only has it allowed the company to produce quality-assured new products but also made it possible for it to accept larger orders without having to worry about manpower.
Jens Christian Lægsgaard summarises: “Our investment in Universal Robots has clearly increased our production capacity and turnover. Without our UR5 I would have had to say no to lucrative orders.”
To learn more about the UR5 and other collaborative robots please visit www.universal-robots.com.