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Innomech launches ‘robot in a box’

20 October 2011

Automation consultancy GB Innomech (Innomech) has announced a new concept in high performance, low cost robotics that will enable even low volume manufacturers to cut costs and improve their competitiveness by automating critical product manufacturing processes

RoBox – literally a ‘robot in a box’ – uses a fast, highly accurate robot that can be fully customised by Innomech to carry out repetitive, labour-intensive or hazardous product assembly or quality testing tasks in sectors where it can be difficult to recruit or retain staff.

Initial target markets include food production, healthcare, consumer and industrial product manufacturing. RoBox is also perfect for today’s short product life cycles and the demands of flexible production because it can be quickly and easily reconfigured without its operators needing any specialist programming knowledge.

“Robot-based automation is widely accepted as one of the best ways for companies to save costs but many UK manufacturers are reluctant to invest, compared with other developed nations because of outdated views about cost, set-up time and reliability. RoBox is being launched to address these concerns head on. Our novel approach is based on a new generation of high performance, industrial robots that are essentially general purpose tools which can be easily and inexpensively reprogrammed to handle multiple new tasks,” said David Beale, technical director at Innomech.

Flexible automated workcells such as RoBox are also being increasingly brought in to help manufacturers protect their businesses from some significant costs that are frequently over-looked when calculating the full labour costs associated with manual manufacturing methods. For example: time lost from staff sickness or holidays, heating and lighting costs, the cost of personal protective clothing and the commercial risk of an occupational injury or litigation claim resulting from Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and other musculoskeletal disorders.

A recent report from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work is further strengthening the case for manufacturers to review their current processes and re-consider which steps need to be automated. The study found a rapid increase in the number of RSI cases, low skilled manufacturing jobs are usually most at risk and repeated hand and arm movements - common in product assembly, testing and packaging operations - are the single biggest risk factor.

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