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Application Note: Machine Tending Solution For Metal Component Manufacturer

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The Application

A manufacturer of metal components in Tennessee needed help with automating a workstation on a new line. They wanted a UR robot to pick from two locations and then move parts between stations. The manufacturer required that this station be automated, because in order to meet their customer’s deadlines they needed the reliability, speed, and consistency of a robot.

Cross was able to create an integrated solution for them utilizing a UR robot with an ROI of just over a year (running two shifts a day at an hourly rate of $25/hr).

Because this manufacturer was new to automation, Cross helped walk through some complications that came up during and after installation. For example, they discovered an issue with the nut welder that required an updated fixture. Though this was outside the scope of the original project the automation engineers at Cross designed and built the fixture needed for the application.

While working through some of the issues that came up during implementation, the customer used human labor to man the station. They quickly confirmed that they were unable to meet their throughput requirements with a human operator. They were able to produce a more consistent product with a robot operator because the part was placed in the machine the same way each time. In addition, they were able to process faster because the robot can work non-stop without breaks.

Though temporarily using a human operator was an inconvenience at the time, it helped them to understand the benefits of automating manual processes and prove the need for additional automation at their facility. This customer is now planning to implement an additional ten projects in the next year with the help of Cross Automation.

The Solution

The solution developed by Cross had to complete several tasks for each piece:

First, it would pick up a stamped metal piece and place it in a nut feed/welding station.

Then it would pick up and place nuts to be welded in place.

Next, the part would go to a dot peen station to have the part number engraved.

After that it would place the part into the brake press which would apply two bends.

Then it would pick up and place nuts to be welded in place.

Finally, the part would either be placed by the robot onto a conveyor belt or into a reject bin.

If you are new to the world of automation, our team is here to partner with you to help improve efficiency , reduce risk, and raise the quality of your product. Contact us today to learn more.

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In the meantime, enjoy these fun facts…

Did you know... the precision measurement group at Cross was founded in 1939 by our current CEO's grandfather, Jim King. That's a whole lot of calibration!
Did you know... A fingerprint weighs about 50 micrograms. We know, we weighed it! The residue left from a finger can actually make a difference in weight results which is why we wear gloves when we calibrate weights. For reference, a sheet to paper is about 4.5 grams, that’s 4.5 million micrograms.
Did you know… Cross Company is an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). Our ESOP started in 1979 and as of 2006, we are a 100% employee owned! Learn more about our ESOP and how that benefits both team members and our customers.
Did you know… Cross Company has grown significantly since our start in 1954. Over the years we've acquired 26 companies! Today, our five groups have expertise in everything from industrial automation to precision measurement, and industry knowledge going all the way back to 1939.