Therm-Cast Corporation, a Wisconsin based die-caster, was looking to improve labor efficiency in their machining area though the use of automation. Due to the high-mix, low-volume nature of their business they felt a collaborative robot approach would suit their needs best. Often times a human worker would spend too much time simply loading and unloading the machining center versus more productive activities like CNC programming and part inspection. After researching potential collaborative robot partners, Therm-Cast chose PCC Robotics to help automate one of their machining centers.
When PCC Robotics and Therm-Cast met and talked through the major components of a typical solution, they were able to quickly identify which portions PCC Robotics would provide and what Therm-Cast would be able to accomplish on their own. Through this collaboration, Therm-Cast was able to get their first project operational in a couple of days. And with additional support from PCC Robotics they’ve made additional improvements, specifically in their approach to programming in the Universal-Robots environment.
Therm-Cast now has one machining center automated for a number of products they run regularly. Set up times are brief and once in production the cell can run unattended for hours, only stopping at scheduled times for dimensional inspections and to replenish material. While there were certainly some “learning curve” moments during deployment, Therm-Cast was able to get into production quickly and continue to improve on what they’ve learned, making the system more efficient and productive with each new part they run. Operations Manager Brian Lucius has already indicated the possibility of adding more collaborative robots in the future.
While Therm-Cast has improved labor efficiency with their deployment of collaborative robot automation they are finding added benefits of attracting new talent and being more cost competitive in their field. With the assistance of PCC Robotics they have also achieved a level of independence with the solution that allows them to transition from project to project with confidence.
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