Automation counters low-wage fabricators
- To help counter the threat from low-cost labour countries, a UK fabricator has invested heavily in automation, including n automated welding cell and tower store-fed laser profiler.
- Sandwich, UK-based sheet metalworking subcontractor, Stevens and Carlotti, is coming under increasing pressure from competitors in low-wage countries such as Poland and China.
- To help counter the threat, the UK firm has invested heavily in automation to reduce manufacturing costs.
- Latest acquisitions are a Prima Industrie laser cutting centre fed from a material storage tower, and an automated welding cell supplied by Motoman Robotics UK.
- He commented, 'The robotic welding cell is about four times as productive as a manual welder for a batch of, say, 50-off relatively simple components'.
- We can economically supply small batches just-in-time, so our customers' stores and shop floors are not cluttered with unnecessary stock and work-in-progress (production inventory-Ed).'
- Installed in mid 2004, the robot welding cell is a standard ArcSystem 2300 comprising a Motoman UP6 robot, all-round guarding with roof, pneumatically lifted access door.
- A servo-powered, one tonne payload, rotary turntable that allows virtually uninterrupted production, as unloading and loading take place while welding is in progress.
- 'There can be a tendency for manual welders to cut corners by holding parts in place, whereas you have to jig a component properly for robotic welding, so a consistent result is always achieved with the Motoman system.