How do you elegantly scale manufacturing when your processes depend on handbook steps?
For French producer Alliora, robotic palletizing was the reply…
When 2021 introduced a brand new want for automation for Alliora
It was Might 2021 and Antoine Bruno was the brand new Common Supervisor at Alliora.
Alliora is a producing firm based mostly in Fougères, France. They specialize within the manufacturing and packaging of inflexible containers. They work with industries resembling pc gaming, cosmetics, and for any firm whose merchandise are packed in such inflexible containers.
Antoine grew to become the Common Supervisor of Alliora after buying the corporate in December 2020. A couple of months in and he may see the necessity for automation.
“It was actually a technique for me to automate the road.
“Our imaginative and prescient is that when the extent of orders is low, we use folks on the road. When the extent of orders will increase lots, we use a robotic. This manner, it is going to be simpler for us to reply to the market.”
When handbook processes cease you from scaling manufacturing
Antoine knew they wanted to have a option to proactively scale manufacturing to fulfill the altering market calls for.
The issue? That this wasn’t but possible with Alliora’s present setup. Their manufacturing was too depending on handbook work.
“The primary problem is that we have now lots of people. Typically we will have between 10 to fifteen folks engaged on the road.
“The problem for us is to cut back these numbers of individuals. Our goal is 3, 4, or 5 most. It is for that reason we have determined to make use of a collaborative robotic.”
Why palletizing? Choosing the fitting activity for robotic automation
A standard query folks have when getting began with automation is which is one of the best activity to automate first.
For Alliora, palletizing appeared like an apparent selection.
“There are 2 causes we selected to automate palletizing.
“Firstly, it’s a very bodily job. The containers are between 5 kg and 12 kg. It is vitally repetitive, it is rather heavy, and it is rather bodily. Individuals don’t love doing the palletizing activity.
“Secondly, typically we have now a excessive degree of orders. On this case, we will not have any folks on the road.”
Even while you’ve chosen palletizing as your activity, there are a number of diverse options available on the market for robotic palletizing. It may be laborious to know which answer to decide on.
“Step one was to fulfill a number of suppliers with totally different options. Afterwards, we made some exams with two programs with SterkElec.”
SterkElec is a French distributor specializing in automation. They’re a companion of Robotiq. When SterkElec visited Alliora’s facility in Might 2021, they got here with a robotic for demonstration.
Antoine explains that this step was essential…
Easy methods to proactively sort out worker uncertainty about robots
Worker uncertainty is widespread while you’re getting began with robotics. If employees aren’t acquainted with utilizing robots, they are often nervous concerning the expertise and what it would imply for his or her jobs.
“For Alliora, automation could be very, very new. The folks in Alliora do not know what automation is. Typically, individuals are terrified of automation and so they do not wish to work with a robotic.
“When an organization like Alliora needs to buy a brand new machine, it is rather essential for us to see the machine earlier than buying. And never solely me, because the supervisor, as a result of I can extra simply transfer to your plant or to an indication workshop to see the robotic.
“It is vitally essential for the operators, for my folks, to see what sort of machine I wish to purchase. If I purchase a brand new machine with out the settlement of the folks working within the line, it is going to be very tough to applicable the machine.
“I appreciated it that when SterkElec got here to the plant and we may see the robotic. Then, we noticed it once more in movies. Afterwards, we moved to their workshop to see the machine working once more.
“Ultimately, the folks “claimed” the machine themselves. It was solely doable as a result of, throughout the course of, the industrial help was superb, each from Robotiq and SterkElec.”
Easy vs complicated: Easy methods to evaluate palletizing options available on the market
At Robotiq, we’re clearly very happy with our palletizing answer. However, we all know that there are different palletizing options available on the market.
Antoine defined the variations between the Robotiq answer and the others that he had seen throughout his seek for an answer.
“The Robotiq system was quite simple to make use of. That was the primary purpose we selected it over the opposite options. You may take any operator on the road and so they can use it. If somebody needs to make use of the machine, we’d like solely 3 hours of coaching. After that, they’ll use it.
“The opposite options we noticed are extra complicated. We’d additionally want extra machine components to do the identical factor. I believe this answer could be very tailored to our course of and merchandise.”
This simplicity and flexibility are essential for an organization like Alliora the place their manufacturing adjustments lots. In the identical week, they’ll change the manufacturing twice to deal with two kinds of merchandise. That is straightforward to do with the Robotiq answer.
“The second purpose we selected this answer is as a result of the help from SterkElec and Robotiq was superb.
“When we have now small issues, we will name them and we at all times have an answer, at all times a advice.
“For instance, we have now a bit drawback now with large, 9 kg cartons that we can not transfer with the present setup. We had a name with Robotiq, he requested us about our cartons, he made some exams and gave us an answer. It was very fast. The industrial help and the technical help are superb.”
How lengthy does it take to deploy a palletizing robotic?
We regularly say that the deployment of cobots is fast in comparison with typical automation. However, how lengthy does it actually take to deploy a palletizing robotic to your line?
“From the time we obtained the machine till we used it… 5 days. Every week.
“It was very, very fast as a result of the system could be very easy. We took it out of the field, we put the machine on the finish of the road, we made some exams for about 2 or 3 days, we put it on-line, and we produce with the machine.
“During the last two months, we have now produced with the robotic day-after-day. And day-after-day the employees are very completely satisfied.”
The Consequence: What advantages have Alliora seen with Robotiq palletizing?
Individuals usually assume that productiveness beneficial properties would be the core profit when they’re contemplating automation for the primary time. Nevertheless, with comparatively sluggish speeds of about 1200 containers per hour productiveness wasn’t crucial issue for Alliora.
Antoine explains crucial profit they’ve seen:
“We’ve got lowered the price of manufacturing by 5%. That is the worldwide price of the whole manufacturing. However, not by the velocity of the robotic. Primarily it is as a result of we have now lowered the numbers of individuals on the road.”
Because of this Alliora can now scale their high-volume orders with out that bottleneck of handbook processing. They will preserve their folks on the decrease quantity strains and reply extra successfully to adjustments out there.
What’s subsequent for robotics at Alliora?
Antoine is now looking forward to how they’ll incorporate extra robotic automation into their processes.
Like many new collaborative robotic customers, he can see alternatives for brand new functions, together with different packaging duties.
“As we speak we solely use it for palletization. However, I believe it is going to be doable to make use of the robotic for an additional perform than palletization as a result of it is very versatile. We are able to think about utilizing it for earlier phases within the packaging course of.
You may be taught extra concerning the Robotiq Palletizing Resolution on our options web page.