Come along as we explore a video that showcases how one solution can efficiently service two machine tools. We’re taking you to AMO Steel, a small factory in Mias that specializes in manufacturing hydraulic equipment and fittings such as adapters, connectors, plugs, and highpressure hoses.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, AMO Steel faced logistical challenges with component delivery. To address this, they invested in CNC machines and started independent lathe production, initially for their own needs, and eventually took on external orders.
Today AMO Steel’s factory floor boasts CNC lathes from various manufacturers, all featuring a sleek slant bed design that provides ample internal space and a modern look. Most models are equipped with an S36 gang tooling device and an S36T 8-station hydraulic servo tool turret.
The metalworking department employs around 20 people, each operating 1-2 machines. Each machine churns out roughly 300 parts per cycle, which lasts 1-2 minutes.
To transform metalworking into a standalone business line, AMO Steel needs to boost both manpower and productivity.
This is where our All-in-One Cobot-Based Solution for the CNC machine tending came in.
In spring of 2023, AMO Steel implemented a pilot project using our cobotic solution capable of handling up to 10 kg loads. Today, a single robot, armed with two grippers for loading blanks and unloading finished products, tends to two machines.
This has boosted each machine’s output to 450-500 parts per operator’s shift, a significant increase from the previous 300 parts. Meanwhile, one operator now could oversee up to six machines instead of the previous one or two machines.
The factory produces small batches of products, leveraging 20-25 programs as a part of ‘All-in-One’ solution at present.
The output of each batch is tailored to the shift, allowing the operator to sequentially reconfigure the solution and maintain a smooth flow of production.
The “All-in-One’ solutions have proven its worth for our high mix, low volume manufacturing. We have big plans. We’re building a new workshop and plan to fully equip it with these solutions. Our goal is one operator servicing three cobotic cells, and one cobot servicing two machines.
Getting the solution up and running was quick, taking a few days to complete. Productivity has skyrocketed!
Even though a human might service the CNC machines faster in the short-term, over the course of a shift, a cobot can handle a larger volume of monotonous tasks more quickly and accurately.
This frees us up to focus more on quality. Every sixth produced part is placed by the cobot on a table with a control measuring device. The human operator then takes the necessary measurements and makes any required changes to the fixture and tool on the CNC machine.
Initially, we were apprehensive that robots would replace us. But now, I’ve adjusted very well. My work has become simpler, safer, and more interesting. Before, I had just one minute for each loading cycle and was literally tied to the CNC machine. Now, I team up with a robot, which lets me focus more on quality control.
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