Finnish machine tooling store Ket-Met Oy struggled to remain aggressive as a result of staffing prices to function sure machines harmed its competitiveness. The corporate was finally in a position to reduce these prices with assist from collaborative robotic arms from Common Robots A/S.
Ket-Met was based as Koneosahiomo M.I. Kettunen within the late 1960s and makes a speciality of stainless-steel manufacturing. Worldwide engineering corporations resembling Andritz, Sandvik, Wärtsilä, and Wetend Applied sciences contract with the corporate for manufacturing of small collection of up to a couple hundred items. The subcontractor, which is predicated in Savonlinna, Finland, close to the Russian border, additionally has a major variety of prospects in jap Finland.
Ket-Met confronted stagnating development, with income round €1.three million ($1.45 million U.S.). Its board of administrators set a income objective of 10% development per yr with out compromising its 10% web revenue goal. Challenges included buying new prospects and rising income from present buyer relationships, mentioned Tuomas Kalanen, managing director.
“Worth competitors within the discipline is kind of fierce,” he mentioned. “Our objective has been to cut back our manufacturing prices to be able to develop our enterprise actions.”
“A part of the rationale for the prices has been the low diploma of automation of the corporate’s equipment,” Kalanen defined. Manufacturing automation is used solely within the latest lathes.
Ket-Met has six Mori Seiki lathes and two vertical spindle machining facilities. It additionally has a 3D coordinate-measuring machine for high quality assurance.
Older machines require considerably extra manpower than fashionable tools, Kelanen noticed. An aged lathe and milling machine require a human to maneuver the workpiece on the machine and carry the completed piece off once more. This raises manufacturing prices.
One other problem is discovering sufficient staff. “It’s tough to seek out new motivated employees who wish to be CNC machinists in Savonlinna — and nearly all over the place in Finland,” mentioned Kalanen. “This isn’t the favourite occupation of younger individuals.”
Savonlinna is much from main inhabitants facilities, and like dozens of different municipalities, it’s dropping younger individuals, who’re transferring to development areas. “It’s nearly inconceivable to seek out new CNC machinists right here, though we definitely have tried,” Kalanen mentioned.
Ket-Met purchased its first UR10 collaborative robotic, or cobot, in 2016 to boost the manufacturing of the Mori Seiki automated lathe. It took two weeks to put in and program.
The cobot strikes the workpieces on the lathe or milling machine, waits for his or her completion, and cleans the fasteners and components with compressed air. It then a transports the completed components to the washing basket for laundry.
Along with servicing machines, Ket-Met makes use of cobots to assemble components and grind burrs.
One cobot freed a machinist to give attention to extra demanding work for under about half the price of what an worker’s annual value is in Finland.
Since then, Kalanen has acquired a UR10 and a UR10e. Kalanen calculated that the return on funding has been roughly a yr for every cobot.
Outcomes at Ket-Met
Universal Robots‘ cobots are proving to be a critically essential acquisition with regard to the corporate’s development technique.
“With cobots, we have now been in a position to cut back the manufacturing unit labor prices by greater than 40% in relevant components,” Kalanan acknowledged. “We’re concerned in worth competitors once more.”
The corporate has obtained new orders from each current and new prospects.
“I consider that with cobots, it’s significantly simpler for the corporate to realize its development targets,” mentioned Kalanen. “With every cobot, we will produce as a lot as with one new worker however at a decrease value.”
A conventional industrial robotic wouldn’t have been the precise resolution, he mentioned. The prices would have been larger, and the robots would have required new corridor amenities with security guarding. It will have been tough to combine them with machines within the current location.
“The previous machines are sometimes sluggish, and their options are so restricted that human assets are wasted if tending to it,” Kelanen claimed. “The newest UR prolonged the lifetime of our 1990 Hartford milling machine just a few extra years.”
Workers haven’t thought of the cobots to be a risk to themselves or their jobs. “The programming and use of cobots is simple. Programming a brand new collection takes solely about two hours,” mentioned CNC machinist Hanna Kautonen, who’s answerable for programming the cobots.
Along with programming, people act as high quality controllers, guaranteeing that every one sides of the components are of the specified form and size. Though cobots are dependable, there are interruptions, principally brought on by put on and tear of the blades used within the machining of stainless-steel. However this isn’t the cobots’ fault, Kautonen mentioned.
“Cobots have facilitated our work,” he mentioned. “We don’t have to watch the method on a regular basis.”
As an alternative of terminating staff due to the brand new automation, Ket-Met has been in a position to shift staff to allow them to give attention to extra demanding duties that require their know-how, resembling programming and making settings.
Cobots are slower than their industrial cousins for security causes. People have time to watch and, if essential, react to the actions of the machine.
“A human can definitely transfer a component quicker than a cobot,” mentioned Pekka Myller, a CNC machinist. “Nonetheless, it doesn’t take espresso breaks and continues to work for a number of hours after we have now already gone house.”
In line with firm custom, every new machine is called after the identify day on the date of introduction. At Ket-Met, cobots are recognized by the standard Finnish males’s names of Vihtori, Eetu, and Tatu.
Ket-Met robots don’t use machine imaginative and prescient, and Ket-Met staff contemplate this to be a great goal for future improvement.
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