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First and foremost, to our employees reading this: we are not replacing you with robots!
Alright, now that the panic has subsided, let’s get into it.
Here at Modus, we work with some pretty incredible companies. These companies are designing everything from components being launched into space, to parts of lifesaving medical devices, to radiofrequency shields in missiles for our DoD contractors. Being a trusted partner to them comes with some big responsibilities–including staying at the leading edge of innovation and automation.
Automation is a part of many of our current processes, which we’ll cover below, but until recently, we hadn’t yet ventured into collaborative robots. Curiosity, a passion for innovation, and our commitment to working with speed and precision led us to Universal Robots.
We saw Universal Robots (UR) as the undisputed leader in collaborative robots and recognized that their systems are capable of significantly optimizing labor costs while accelerating productivity and quality measurement by leaps and bounds.
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What is the UR10e Robot?
The UR10e Robot from Universal Robots is a collaborative industrial robot that is suited for a wide range of applications in machine tending, palletizing, and packaging. The excitement has us feeling like Christmas eve; we are giddy envisioning all of the ways that these collaborative robots (also known as cobots) are perfect for future use on our shop floor.
Without getting too into the weeds (we’ll save that for another day), below is the highlight reel on why we chose the UR10e Robot from Universal Robots.
- Payload and Reach: High payload lift of up to 12.5kg (just under 28 pounds) and an incredible reach of 1300mm.
- Compact Footprint: The UR10e has a compact footprint of only 190mm. This allows our employees to work closely with the cobot, without losing access to their workspace.
- Ease of Use: It has been said that if you can work a smartphone, you can program the UR10e robot for operation. It seriously is that simple, and our team was pleasantly surprised.
- Safety: This particular e-series robot is equipped with a wide range of built-in safety functions, as well as a lengthy list of configurable safety functions including joint position limit, joint speed limit, and speed limits.
Now that we’ve got a solid overview of what the UR10e robot is, let’s look at how we are using it here at Modus.
How We Use the UR10e Robot at Modus Advanced
As a leading manufacturing partner to many global industries, we need to stay ahead of what can advance the precision, speed, and quality of the work we do because our partners depend on us.
We’ve long known about robots for manufacturing automation, but it’s taken a little time to find the right robot for the right process. Adding the UR10e to our workflow has been a step in the right direction to remove the ergonomically unfavorable tasks and free up our workforce to do more meaningful work.
While the UR10e robot has a lot of potential for automating processes at Modus, we currently have it tasked with measuring our form-in-place (FIP) gaskets for quality assurance.
Quality control in itself is a rather time-consuming task, and measuring FIP gaskets is no exception. When humans perform manual quality measurements, there is a possibility of breakage or damage to the gasket.
Previous QC Process
While our previous QC process was automated utilizing different technology, we’re actively working toward 100% verification of our parts. In order to achieve that standard, we are continuing to integrate more forms of automation (and more advanced forms at that) into our manufacturing processes.
Eventually, with the UR10e, each and every FIP gasket that leaves our shop floor and is shipped to you will have 100% verification that it is to your specifications. This matters to you, and to the end user, like the astronaut heading to space or the Navy SEAL operating in dangerous conditions, so it matters to us.
Implementation of the UR10e promises repeatable tasks, without human error, increasing the speed and consistency of our quality measurements.
So how exactly are we leveraging automation with the UR10e robot? Let’s dig in.
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New and Improved Process with the UR10e
We’ve mounted a laser measurement system at the end of the arm of the UR10e that gives us the most precise and accurate readings of our work.
Highly regulated industries like aerospace and defense expect that every single one of their parts meet their requirements, and we want to be able to verify the entire order with speed and precision. The cost of poor quality can be devastating.
The speed at which we can deliver verified parts will be drastically increased thanks to the UR10e. In the FIP department specifically, we are anticipating lead time to be on the order of half the time, allowing us to execute your order much quicker with uncompromised quality.
Repeatable, accurate, fast, efficient. When it comes to getting your part completed quickly and with precision, what more could we want?
You Use Robots, So What? Why Should I Care?
There are dozens of reasons that collaborative robots like the UR10e are an attractive feature of a manufacturing partner but at the top of the list are speed and precision. Oh, and that robots are insanely cool…
Working with speed and precision positions us as the obvious choice for discerning customers who want and need a top-notch manufacturing partner.
We vow to constantly challenge the status quo in order to get your part through the product realization process in the most cost and time-efficient way with our Design-for-Manufacturability process. Every day matters when your life-changing designs can get to market faster, without sacrificing quality.
In the same vein, being the obvious choice for our partners means that your problems are our problems in the design and manufacturing arena. It means that when faced with a design issue, you reach out to us because you know we’re here to support you. It means we’ve got your best interests in mind, and when you succeed, so do we.
Utilizing automation to service you with unmatched speed and precision is a no-brainer that provides wide-reaching benefits.
The Future of Automation for Modus Advanced
The UR10e robot may be new to us and our QC processes, but automation has been in action at Modus for years. Every corner of our business has been touched by automation in one way or another, to help us become the most efficient, productive, and reliable manufacturing partner.
We’re always searching for ways to increase speed and precision across the board here, and so far, here are just some of the automation tools we’ve implemented:
- Our PRTX quoting system has revolutionized our sales quote process by reducing the time required to build a full quote down to approximately 3 minutes. We know you’re eager to get started, so by automating this step, we’re able to hit the ground running quickly.
- Our horizontal machining centers (HMC’s) operate with pallet systems and tombstones, allowing us to run lights out overnight. This reduces lead time significantly, getting your product in hand faster.
- All of our machining centers are also fitted with automatic breakage detection programs, to ensure minimal time is lost in the event of tool breakage.
- In our FIP department, the laser mounted on our dispensing machine scans the gasket shelf prior to dispensing. The scan automatically adjusts the dispense program, ensuring it is within tolerance the first time.
These are just a few of the ways that we are moving the needle when it comes to automation. It all boils down to being the obvious choice for our partners and providing the speed and precision you want and expect.
Quality is king in everything we do for customers like you, and we have more than 40 years of quality experience among our quality assurance staff. Reach out to us today. Call (925) 960-8700 or contact us online.