Grind and Polish Robot
Grind and Polish Robot: Fanuc R200 iC Foundry Pro
HERD had been considering automation in production for the past 5 years, originally focused on a welding robot as the best place to start. It wasn’t until November of 2017 during a trip to Chicago for the FabTech Show that we realized we should look to another department within our plant – thanks to PushCorp.
PushCorp makes simple wrist-mounted units for small grinding and polishing motors to perform light surface finishing. This changed the game for us because we would now have the ability to use robotics on an uneven surface, like the small radius edges on our boxed-in uprights.
There was definitely a huge need for a grind and polish robot in the shop. It is a tough job in a dirty environment and we were looking for ways to help our staff move out of that function to train for better, easier work. All of the training is also done in-house and it can take a fairly long time to get someone adding real value to the production team. The robot would also alleviate a large footprint on the shop floor, freeing space for future advancements.
In August 2018, we officially had our robot set and ready to use. The Robot is a Fanuc R200 iC Foundry Pro with the PushCorp mount. So far we’ve been happy with the work of the robot. On a perfect day it can go two times faster than our best polisher. It takes one person approximately 30 minutes to grind and polish one box. The robot can do it in 15 minutes! It’s able to do the job of almost 10 people in a day.
That being said, no one will become unemployed with HERD because of a robot. Instead our people are learning to operate and oversee the robot or cross-trained to other departments. It is important to HERD that our employees grow, learn and acquire new skills that help them advance in their career.
We’ve learned a lot over the past few months, most importantly that there is more automation we want to bring to HERD. Two more grind and polish bots that are a little smaller than the Fanuc R200 iC Foundry are in the plan along with integrating the welding automation that started our conversations on this topic years ago. Overall we think these steps toward automation are a big part of HERD’s success going forward and we’re very happy with our achievements.
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