A medical devices company was facing a number of challenges in manufacturing including high cost of goods and product quality issues. The highly manual process meant that human error and excess handling were causing issues with product quality. In addition, poor ergonomics and repetitive assembly operations were contributing to health and safety issues. Another key challenge was the requirement to accommodate over 250 different product variants on the same machine, with minimum changeover.
We provided a semi-automated solution using Cartesian robot technology to provide a re-programmable and highly flexible product handling system. The system assembles 8 different components, including a heat sealing operation. For changeovers, no tooling or change parts are required. Instead, different products are selected from the operator touch-screen, allowing for rapid changeover with only the need to replace raw materials.
The new robotic cell has decreased the required manning of the process from 16 operators to 2 and product quality has improved. Repetitive operator processes have been drastically reduced and changeovers now occur in less than 1 minute! These are now limited only by paperwork and quality procedures rather than the machine. With shorter production runs, finished goods stocks have been significantly reduced. The machine is also future-proof, as since installation many new products have been introduced and programmed to run on the system.