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Pick-and-place robot cell is cost-efficient for small batch sizes

01 June 2020

Sensor manufacturer Lenord + Bauer has used a MELFA RV Series robot from Mitsubishi Electric to optimise its manufacturing production cycle for frequent product changeovers.

The robot cell has taken over monotonous manual pick-and-place tasks at its Gladbeck plant in North-West Germany. Crucially, the robot operates safely near the rest of the workforce. 

Simple set-up and operator controls allow the cell to be used cost-effectively on a wide variety of batch sizes, releasing operators to perform more interesting and valuable work elsewhere. The solution is flexible, efficient and provides integration into the company's higher-level enterprise systems. This constitutes an ideal platform for future developments such as the planned implementation of a Kanban warehouse.

Lenord + Bauer is a manufacturer of precision motion sensors, controllers and integrated drive technology. The company manufactures products such as compact encoders for logging speed and position in highly dynamic systems, including machine tool spindles. The products are modular – designed to be easily tailored for different individual requirements using customised cable assemblies and connectors – this results in a wide variety of batch sizes from single units to large-scale production runs.

The high levels of customisation and the varying sizes of production runs presented a challenge for more traditional forms of automation. Set-up had to be fast and flexible otherwise the automation wouldn't be worth doing, so engineers from Lenord + Bauer approached Mitsubishi Electric to explore the options open to them.

"We didn't have a fully prepared set of requirements at that time, but Mitsubishi Electric gave us all the support and advice that we needed for our first foray into robotics," says Ulrich Marl, Head of Business Production at Lenord + Bauer. "Besides a compact design, our main requirements included a high level of precision and flexibility – while complying with safety standards, as well as the ability to integrate with our in-house IT systems."

Read the full article in the June issue of DPA.

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