Wood & Panel

Universal Robots’ ‘Sandrew’ augments throughput

 Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Universal Robots’ innovation ‘Sandrew’, the new robot colleague at Andrew Pearce Bowls has delivered a 40% increase in the production throughput, resulting in the robot paying itself back in just two months. The UR5e is a collaborative industrial robot that is lightweight, flexible, and capable of handling medium-duty tasks. The UR5e is built to integrate seamlessly into a variety of applications. Additionally, UR5e is available with a 3-Position Teach pendant and as an OEM robot system. The collaborative robots (cobots) from Universal Robots (UR) were selected because of the non-proprietary software and the digital and analog outputs that allowed for adding additional peripherals in the process of fixturing and tooling. Its operating mechanisms were also made easy with the availability of online resources and learning through UR, Robotiq, and the local provider, Axis New England.

Two months ROI and 40% increase in throughput

Andrew Pearce Bowls started looking into automation as a manual sander was promoted to a finish turner, leaving open a position that turned out to be challenging to fill. “It’s hard to recruit somebody to stand at a downdraft table and sand cutting boards for eight hours,” says Alex Drew, application engineer at Andrew Pearce Bowls. “Sanding was really becoming the choke point in our production.”

Andrew Pearce’s production manager has looked closely at the metrics of how his UR5e cobot is performing. “We essentially end up saving about 20% of the time the sander would spend on the board handling the finish sanding,” he explained. “It’s not replacing them, it’s just cutting down the amount of time that they’re taking getting it from a rough to a finished product, which translates to about 40% increase in throughput.”

Welch calculates that the robot’s return on investment (ROI) took around two months, taking into account the company’s total costs for the robot and implementation. He mentions that this year, the UR robot has grown to be a crucial part of their commercial strategy. With the UR application, they will be able to achieve their goal of continuing the over 20% growth that the company saw this year.

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