Adam Wiltsie, plant manager at Vanamatic company, had 30 people cycle through a CNC operation in a year. It got increasingly hard to keep people in these positions, as labor shortage is high and people prefer doing value added tasks rather than the same repetitive motions all the time. Elmer to the rescue!
Vanamatic is a family-owned company active in the automotive, aerospace and general fittings industry. They've been around for 65 years and recently got into automation. The latest addition to their team was Elmer: their fourth Universal Robot and the first to use a Pickit system. With the help of Pickit, Vanamatic automated a complex and labor intensive application.
“Pickit just adds an extra tool to our tool box where we're able to automate processes that we may not have been able to before."
The application involves the picking and placing of parts. Before, the parts had to be staged to be picked from the exact same point every time. Now, the staging element is eliminated: the Pickit system detects the part's location and position so the robot can pick them. The great advantage? The process is less labor intensive and has an incredible amount of added flexibility: the machine can handle any part. The big challenge? Keeping productivity high by being able to present the parts in bulk. Vanamatic was after 500 pieces an hour - and they succeeded!
“I pretty much self-taught myself how to use it, how to set it up."
Adam Wiltsie, the plant manager, designed and implemented this robotic cell with 3D vision pretty much by himself. He turned to YouTube for tutorials and used his own common sense and creativity to build this automated application. On the first day in production, it already ran over 3,000 pieces.
“We're taking a 100% manned operation down to possibly a 20% manned operation."
The initial goal of automating with Pickit was to make the manual load off system less labor intensive. Needless to say: mission accomplished! However, it is important to note that the robots aren't there to replace people's jobs. It is crucial to Adam that the robots can work alongside the operators, something that's reflected by letting the team pick the robots' names. They are a big part of the team and allow the operators to focus on more complex and satisfying tasks. The team loves Roxy, Rocky, Ethel and Elmer!
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