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Sponsored Article

Win a Cobot!

29 May 2018

Is there a manual process in your production set-up that you believe could benefit from being automated? Well, Universal Robots is giving UK businesses the chance to win their very own UR Robot to give them a helping hand! 

Need inspiration? Then read on to find out how Atria automated its factory processes by packaging food with user-friendly robots. Then get yourself in the running by telling Universal Robots how you’d deploy a cobot to improve your own business operations.

In Short:

Atria Scandinavia is one of northern Europe’s leading manufacturers of vegetarian and gourmet products for convenience markets and retail chains in need of round the clock service. The Skene factory in western Sweden, one of four Atria Scandinavia factories, sees many of the plant’s 30 employees working side by side with three robot arms from Universal Robots.

Challenge:

Each day, shrimps, olives, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and other specialties are marked with labels, packed and palletised at Atria Scandinavia.

"Our goal is to get reliable product lines where we can produce efficiently and effectively while keeping our staffing costs down. As a food producer, it is extremely important for us to minimise downtime, so we can supply fresh goods at a competitive price. The UR robots are a great automation solution, because they can run without safety fencing. It is a significant advantage that our employees can work right next to the robots and that they easily can adjust the robots when packing different types of products," explains Johnny Jansson, Atria’s Technical Manager responsible for the integration of “cobots”.

Solution:

For the factory workers, it has been a real eye-opener that robots can be so simple to use. Atria purchased their UR-robots from the local UR distributor Edstrøm’s that offered introduction and training in using the robots. But even before the training started, Atria's technical department had begun to use the robots and managed to build the first installation of two UR5 robots and one UR10 robot.

"We were all completely new to UR robots and I was impressed that it was so easy to get started. They’re very different than other robot brands as they are very logical and intuitive to work with," says Jansson.

The Danish developed cobots have become a natural tool in the production at Atria. The easy programming and operation saves the company a lot of time when changing specific tasks, from packaging shrimp to packaging olives for example. Each production line is used to prepare an average of 228 items per hour for delivery and is required to be fast and flexible.

"Before, it took six hours to convert to a different product, but with UR robots change-overs happen in just 20 minutes."

Johnny Jansson was originally trained as an electrician, in Atria’s workshop he and his colleagues designed and built the robot applications for a new, automated packaging process. In the workshop they solved small challenges along the way:

"It simplifies the deployment of robots that we can build solutions for our production in-house. We can go back and forth between the workshop and the production line refining applications as we build them. For example, we developed a small wheel to fold the edges of the cardboard boxes that the food products are packaged in. This solution probably wouldn’t have been conceived if we had been sitting in front of a computer planning the robot application," says Jansson.

Thanks to the collaborative robots, Atria has also optimised material usage in the packaging department, reducing carton waste by 25 percent since the first three cobots were implemented. What’s more, the payback period for each robot is just one year.

Traditional automation technology is both bulky and expensive. That’s why the management at Atria decided to scrap a traditional, shielded industrial robot and a bulky packaging machine that occupied half the space on the packaging floor. Instead, Atria will automate all of their packaging lines in their production with flexible UR robots working unshielded side by side with employees.

The installation of the first two robots from Universal Robots took two months, their next robot installation will happen faster:

"Now that we’re familiar with the UR robots we know how to easily integrate them. It should not take more than two weeks to get the next ones up and running," says Atria’s Technical Manager.

Feel inspired? Don’t miss out on your chance to win a cobot and revolutionise the way your business works! The competition closes on 10 July 2018 – urrobots.com/winacobot


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