Robot removes heavy lifting and extends scope of work

23 July 2017

A UR10 robot arm from Universal Robots (UR) is helping printing company, InPrint, to pick and place print plates, reducing non-productive wait time while improving the work environment and freeing up two labour hours in capacity per day. 

As a turnkey supplier of printed matter InPrint carries out a broad range of printing tasks. Production often involves heavy lifting and operator down time while the machines are printing but the collaborative UR10 robot arm has reduced this significantly.

Søren Nielsen, responsible for large-format production at InPrint, knew where in production the collaborative robot would be most advantageous. He explained: “Our work for the company, Joe & The Juice, was an ideal application. It takes four minutes to print a plate and during these four minutes our print operators have to wait until the machine gives a ‘beep’. Then the operator replaces the plate with a new one and waits again. I noticed that for the most part the operator just waited.”

Within the space of a week the UR robot was ordered, delivered, programmed and integrated with the company’s existing hardware; Nielsen describes the programming and interface as being logical and intuitive.

With a reach of up to 130cm, UR10 is said to be the largest robot that Universal Robots offers. It automates processes and manual tasks, where precision is crucial. And by using the integrated force mode, the robot arm can grab the plates and move them up to a facility in the printer so that they are precisely in place.

“In four months, we have produced 4,500 plates on one of the machines, where the robot handles the plates at an average speed of two minutes.  This has freed up a total capacity of 150 labour hours and saved around DKK 45,000 (over £5,000) in time-savings alone,” said Nielsen. 

The UR10 has reduced wait time and made production more efficient. According to Nielsen it has also led to fewer overtime hours. All in all, the working environment has improved significantly thanks to the robot from Universal Robots.

“Standing by a machine waiting for it to say ‘beep’ can drive you crazy. The person who used to wait for the machine now takes care of other tasks,” said Nielsen.

The improved working environment and more efficient production isn’t the only advantage that the UR10 has to offer. Nielsen also says that due to the robot’s helping hand, the printing company can now undertake work that was not viable before – first and foremost digital tasks with very large print runs. “With the UR10 robot, we are now competitive in areas that were previously beyond our capacity. Quite simply because we can now have the robot do the repetitive work of one employee, who now handles other tasks,” he concludes.

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