Cobot improves workflow consistency on product testing line

19 November 2019

Invertek Drives has automated the testing phase of its variable speed drive production line by incorporated two Universal UR5 cobots.

By automating this aspect of its operations, the company has improved workflow consistency.
Earlier this year Invertek Drives opened the doors to its new global manufacturing and distribution facility in the UK, enabling production of up to 400,000 VFDs a year. This output, along with big variation in product lines and tasks, meant the company needed a flexible automation solution able to switch between different jobs and part sizes throughout the production process. With the support of RARUK Automation, the UR5 cobot was found to offer the greatest ease-of-programming, size and scalability during testing.
“Our workloads can change every other minute so we needed cobots that can handle the inspection and testing of constantly changing devices, all within a single production line,” said Peter Evans, manufacturing engineering manager at Invertek Drives. 
During production, Invertek Drives conducts live tests of VFDs where the safety of its employees was a factor for introducing the cobots. Previously, employees had to physically enter the testing area to press a button, which adds time to the testing cycles. The deployment of the cobots has also improved consistency in operations, as they can be stationed to undertake a task in fixed intervals. With work cycles normally requiring around ten minutes to complete, the company can now conduct more test cycles per hour.
The cobots also play a big role in quality control thanks to a specialist end-of-arm unit that was created by Invertek’s in-house Manufacturing Engineering team. Equipped with a Cognex vision system, lighting controls, a fan-speed sensor and robotic finger, the specialised component enables a full range of complex tests such as visual inspection to be performed to ensure that the product is operating correctly.

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