Cobot solutions in the automotive industry…

Hi Mark – Human Robot Collaboration

Hi Mark Automotive has been leading the way in the design and manufacture of injection moulded products for over 40 years and remains the oldest, privately owned business of its kind within the UK. Their 40 strong work force includes an experienced team of designers who use computer aided design to create the best possible bespoke products for their customers. Hi Mark contacted Reeco to help them automate a section of their production line due to the output volume creating issues with consistency.

Overview
Two new UR5 Cobots are now assisting Hi Mark with the cutting and gluing of their spring isolators at the manufacturers plant in Wrexham, Wales. The standard process was repetitive and hard to staff due to high output volumes and the need for consistency within production quality. Automating this process resulted in reduced opportunity of RSI, improved product consistency and an increase in efficiency, resulting in job creation.

The Original Process
With the factory manufacturing thousands of products every day, an operator was having to constantly man this process to ensure output levels and cycle times were kept to a standard. The process saw operators having to manually cut tabs off the isolators which were delivered to them by their Sepro machine. Though this process worked, there was an increased risk of RSI for the operator as the output levels of the machine had to be matched, with this came the issue of maintaining product consistency as the operators were having to work quickly.

Reeco’s Solution
The solution to this project was to create a system which was able to relieve operators of the process and instead work in collaboration with the current Sepro machine to ensure output levels and workflow are consistent. Firstly, the parts are delivered to the Cobot via the Sepro machine, the machine then places the parts into a nest which holds 6 ready for processing. The nest is sat on one of Reeco’s custom Robot Bases which are manufactured bespoke for each project. The Robot Base houses all the hardware and electrical components required and also acts as a stable mobile platform for the robotic arm whilst providing a table top for any extra equipment needed for the project. Mounted to the base is a UR5 robotic arm as its reach capabilities mean it’s able to process all 6 parts with ease. Secondly, the Cobot picks up two isolators at a time by using a suction tool mounted to the end of the robot arm and brings them to the front of the station where four cutting tools are mounted in order to cut the tabs off the parts. After the tabs have been cut the Cobot moves the parts to the gluing station before placing the finished parts onto a conveyor.

Due to this application Hi Mark have been able to improve their cycle time and ensure consistent quality throughout. The well-integrated Cobot has also removed the opportunity of RSI for the operator as it can complete the process without the need for intervention, leaving operators to complete other processes further down the line.

“Because we’ve improved efficiency, we’ve been able to take on more work within the same amount of time”

Karl Herely
Process Engineer at Hi Mark

Issues Solved

  • Automation of cutting and gluing processes

  • Efficient integration of Cobot into the production line

  • Safe and easy to use in workplace

  • Reduced the risk of RSI

Value Added To The Process

  • Minimises repetitive tasks

  • Improved output consistency

  • Increased cycle time leading to job creation