Collaborative Robots Join ASD Lighting’s Workforce

Established Rotherham based lighting manufacturer ASD, have embraced Industry 4.0 technology and recently installed two ‘cobots’ (collaborative robots) onto their street lighting production line. This is a bold move for ASD with concerns that automation will replace jobs, however this couldn’t be further from the truth as they explain.

ASD Lighting, formed in 1983, have been manufacturing in the UK from their two hundred thousand square foot factory in Rotherham for almost 35 years.

ASD Lighting presents a comprehensive range of commercial, domestic, industrial street and security lighting which has been designed, developed and manufactured to the highest standards.

ASD have developed a service to ensure that they work in partnership with their customers, to build relationships that can be trusted and relied upon. They offer a unique product range with innovative features, with the best quality at the right price to ensure customer satisfaction, providing products Brighter by Design.

ASD’s fast and efficient manufacturing processes, in-house specialists and state of the art technology allows them to meet the ever-changing requirements of their customers, whilst offering industry leading services and delivery times.

As a company they’re embracing Industry 4.0 technology and have recently installed two new collaborative robots on their street lighting production line. A collaborative robot, also known as a cobot is a robot that is capable of learning multiple tasks, so it can assist human beings. A collaborative robot is intended to compliment the human worker’s capabilities, not take the place of a human worker.

Robbie and Roberta are the two UR5 cobots that have joined ASD’s workforce, Robbie entered the line first and Roberta shortly followed.

Both cobots have been installed by leading collaborative robot integrators Reeco Automation. Reeco, based in the heart of Mid Wales, supply customers with solutions in automating systems using Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC/Cobots).

They focus on providing the customer with an automated solution that will ultimately save them money and reduce production costs. They offer their customer’s a solution of integrating collaborative robots with their existing factory equipment and employees.

Robbie and Roberta

Robbie and Roberta are now assisting the ASD team with three tasks; placing of the lenses and fixing the screws on the PCB boards and lenses of the popular street lights. With the factory manufacturing many of these street lights every day, these three tasks were highly repetitive and perfect for the implementation of automation. With repetitive tasks like this, an increasing concern for manufacturers like ASD Lighting is Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), integration of cobots like Robbie and Roberta significantly reduces the risk of RSI for workers. From day one, ASD didn’t want these cobots to replace jobs, their sole purpose was to improve the jobs for their workers by reducing the labour-intensive tasks.

It’s proven with factory’s that implement automation that they become more productive, therefore increasing jobs not removing them. This statement is very true within ASD Lighting, productivity has increased on the street lighting line, therefore more units are being produced everyday which has required additional staff to be employed further down the production line.