When you talk about lean manufacturing, one of the first things that may cross your mind is the robotic workcell. The workcell itself was derived from the need to pare down manufacturing costs and improve the productivity of any given manufacturing line.
A robot workcell is arranged in a way that it improves the cost, quality and speed of any given robotic application in manufacturing. They are engineered based on the principles of lean manufacturing to improve application flow and eliminate waste during the process.
It was once thought that one machine would do one job. For example, one machine could roll sheet metal, one machine could stamp it, etc., with several workers moving the sheet metal from machine to machine to machine. Now, instead of keeping those machines apart, those machines can be fit into a robotic workcell with a robot that positions sheet metal, moving it from one machine to another in a tighter, more efficient way.
Another way that robotic workcells slim down manufacturing is through flexible workcells that can be programmed to do multiple functions. Several robots can weld one piece or multiple pieces simultaneously, improving production speed. One robot can load a part onto a fixture while another cuts or drills the piece, machining it for the right fit down the line. These robots can work together, performing various tasks that save time and cost for the manufacturer.
By moving these machines closer together, or by programming them to do more than one task, manufacturers can cut down on the number of machines and workers necessary to perform these tasks. The workers also benefit by becoming trained on different machines, which gives them a versatile skill set for each station.
RobotWorx, a certified integrator for robot workcells from FANUC, Motoman and KUKA, as well as their own customized brand, has several workcells available for customization. RobotWorx can match your company with the right workcell to slim down your manufacturing and save you time and operating costs, as well as minimizing waste.