The plastics manufacturer had used its manual take out system for its entire history for nearly 20 years. This manual system had several pitfalls including a large amount of scrap, which in turn meant money down the drain in throwaway products. The manual system also lacked reliability and increased chances for injuries. The company brought technology into its facility to help increase the production of quality products while making the plant safer for its employees. The company also hoped to increase its sales by improving the manufacturing process efficiencies through automation. Prior to automation, the company had to turn away opportunities to increase its business due to capacity limitations.
Compared to a different take out system, six axis robots give us an option to even pack the bottle or bring it to a leak detection machine. Now we have dwell time at the robot,” said the plant manager. “Six axis robots give us the ability to look at secondary operations and an opportunity to potentially add some value to our customer’s process. We can present it to our customers as a benefit. Efficiency at the facility has been greatly affected by the addition of Robotic SUBTA units.
We are proud to say that we have not lost a single employee after adding the new robotic systems. Instead of layoffs, employees have been allocated to other parts of the facility,” said the plant manager. “This success has created new business which in turn creates secure jobs. Overall, the addition of the Robotic SUBTA systems has created a more positive and productive environment within our facility. The plastics manufacturer rates the Robotic SUBTA as a great improvement that has been very reliable and nearly flawless in operation.
The Robotic SUBTA systems have also created unexpected improvements in the manufacturing process. The company noted a net reduction of 1/2 percent of scrap, adding 500,000 bottles per year to its output simply by virtue of not dropping the bottles. Since fewer products need to be reground, the company also saves money considering the cost to run the regrind machines has gone up greatly as the cost of oil increases. In addition, this reliable process has cut the employee bending movements by 50 percent.
The plastics manufacturer also considered a vendor with a fixed automation system that included a simple slide but decided that system wasnâ€™t reliable enough for its needs. In addition, every time the mold tooling changed, the slide also had to be changed to accommodate the new product. This created a higher cost to change tooling that was not acceptable. The facility included one machine with a manufacturers fixed automation system, but they wanted to find a more flexible and reliable solution.