How do you master current challenges with Cobots?

In recent years, digitalisation, globalisation, but also the urge to less globalisation, have brought about some changes in the economy and the world of work. In order to be better able to cope with these changes, many companies are focusing on the automation of their production. These companies are then well prepared even in crisis situations, including the current Corona crisis.

The Swiss economy is facing more and more risks: The trade conflict between China and the USA, the downturn in the German economy and also the current corona crisis, the effects of which we are not yet able to assess properly.

In addition to the risks, manufacturing companies in Switzerland in particular face further challenges:

  • More and more often, individual custom-made products in small quantities are in demand. These must then be produced promptly and cost-efficiently.
  • At the same time, however, there are fewer and fewer qualified employees. This makes it more and more difficult to find good employees for monotonous and physically demanding jobs.

When we look at the risks and challenges, it becomes clear that something has to change. Collaborative robotics makes this possible, and not only for large companies, but also for medium-sized and even smallest businesses. With the help of collaborative robotics, these companies can meet the challenges and risks very well. Production can be automated in a flexible and cost-effective way.
We look at three success stories from the Netherlands and Germany, which can also be applied to Switzerland:

Retaining and further qualifying employees

Example 1: Heemskerk Fijnmechanica B.V. Niederlande

Heemskerk Fijnmechanica B.V. produces precision mechanical components for the aviation, automotive and packaging industries. For production, the company relies on Universal Robots collaborating robots (Cobots), especially for feeding the machines and cleaning the finished components. The automation of production is very important to the company, as Lucien Heemskerk, the owner and managing director emphasizes: “To keep up with international competition, we have to work efficiently. If you want to keep your production in the Netherlands, you have to be creative, think outside the box and do things differently than everyone else”.

For the employees, the decision to automate some areas of production has paid off. Especially the automation of tiring and monotonous activities such as the loading of machines has improved the quality of work of the employees.
The employee Anton van Dam confirms this. He has been with the company for over 25 years and previously had to perform these tasks manually. Thanks to the relief provided by the Cobots, which are also easy to operate, he has been able to develop his career.

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“Today I program the robots every day anew and develop new applications. This has made my job so much more varied and exciting.”

Anton van Dam, Employee at Heemskerk Fijnmechanica

That is why the managing director Lucien Heemskerk also sees the Cobots as an excellent means of securing jobs in the Netherlands. According to him, it is difficult to find skilled workers and retain existing employees. By handing over the boring and exhausting work to the Cobots, he can now give the employees more responsibility and offer more interesting fields of activity.

Making production processes more flexible

Example 2: Albrecht Jung GmbH & Co. KG

The Albrecht Jung GmbH is constantly looking for the most modern production methods. They want to make their production as waste-free and flexible as possible so that even small batch sizes can be produced easily. With the use of Cobots, the value-added chains have been optimised according to lean principles.

The company, which is a classic specialist for electrical installations and modern building services engineering, uses a total of eight collaborating robots (UR3 and UR5). The applications range from pick and place to screwing and assembling parts and packaging. After the successful risk assessment, it was also clear that no safety fencing was necessary. Thanks to the short changeover time of the Cobots, the company is now able to react quickly to individual customer requirements. This includes the fact that the company carries out the programming and configuration of the peripheral products itself.

Production manager Schäfer, who plans to use more Cobots, is also convinced.

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“We are proud to be able to successfully optimize our production with this cutting-edge technology. The Cobots enable us to reduce costs and throughput times considerably – with the result of a rapid return on investment”.

Mario Schäfer, Production manager at JUNG at the Lünen site

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Ensure quality

Example 3: beyerdynamic GmbH & Co. KG

Beyerdynamic is a premium manufacturer of audio equipment. High quality is very important to the company. That is why it wants to continue to supply its customers with quality products “Made in Germany” in the future. The company is based in Heilbronn and uses Universal Robots Cobots for production. Since the company stands for high sound quality, the standards in production are also very high.

In order to guarantee a constant quality in the production of headphones, the company relies on a UR3 and a UR5 robot from Universal Robots. These robots support the employees in coating loudspeaker membranes with a dispersion medium.

Three employees were responsible for this work step until the Cobots were used. They applied the medium to the membranes by hand using a brush. Of course, this led to strong variations in quality. Thanks to the use of the Cobots, these fluctuations are now a thing of the past.

Overall, the quality of the products improved significantly. At the same time, productivity in this area increased by 50%. The company would like to continue this course and implement more Cobots in production.

Zwei UR Cobots werden von Mitarbeitern eingerichtet

“For the future, we are counting on growth and thus also on a further increase in our productivity and an unprecedented quality index with regard to our products”.

Peter Härtel, Head of Strategic Operations and Quality at beyerdynamic

Cobots guarantee success for the production of the future

These three real case studies show very well how manufacturing companies can stay on the road to success with collaborating robots in the face of current challenges and crises:

  • By taking over physically demanding tasks, Cobots create space to further develop the individual talents of the employees. It is much easier for employees to gain further qualifications.
  • By using Cobots, you can adapt your production much more flexibly to changing conditions and optimize production processes in a variety of ways.
  • Thanks to the high repeat accuracy, a significantly better product quality is guaranteed. You can thus gain decisive competitive advantages.

You too can use collaborative robotics and take advantage of production automation as a future opportunity. If your employees and end customers benefit, so do you.

You would like to convince yourself personally?

Request a free demo