How True This Quote of Henry Ford’s Is!


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What are The Advantages of Automatic Product Sorting?


Increasing the reliability and quality of your products and services is a must for any manufacturer. Those that work to short delivery times and high levels of distribution need to rely on machinery that will meet the demands of their customers while optimising efficiency to remain competitive.

Automated sorting systems play an integral part in ensuring goods and products across a range of industries are organised and distributed correctly. Manufacturers now understand the speed, accuracy and capacity benefits automated sorting machinery brings to the production line.

If you are thinking about introducing automated sorting systems to your facility and aren’t sure what the advantages of automatically sorting and counting products are, read on to find out more.


Increased efficiency

This begins with the staff working on the factory floor. Automated sorting machines are able to consistently perform the same repetitive motion to the same standard, lowering the prospect of injuries and, even worse, accidents. Injuries can lead to time off for the affected party and rising costs for the manufacturer.

The advantage for workers is the opportunity to learn other skills in the company away from uninspiring jobs that require them to repeat the same motion time and again. Robotic sorting systems do not require breaks or time off and can process a higher quota of products in a shorter space of time.


Lower costs

Combined with a faster rate of throughput, lower costs provides huge benefits for manufacturers. Although the upfront cost for any piece of automation should always be assessed by the business before making the commitment, it should also be tempered with the ROI. This will not be a slow process as gains in efficiency are almost immediate, meaning savings will impact the business straightaway.

Not only are there savings to be made with lower wage costs, but improved energy use management through better use of the machinery also has a positive effect. We have helped countless businesses who are contemplating investing in automation for the first time, and our Bespoke Machinery Buying Guide gives a good overview of what needs to be considered when investing in automation.


Improved accuracy

In many manufacturing sectors such as automotive, and pharmaceutical and medical, accuracy is of paramount importance. Sorting machines can operate quickly and more cost efficiently, while ensuring the quality of the product is never compromised.

Human error often plays a large part in many of the incidents that occur within a production facility and the introduction of counting and sorting systems removes much of those concerns. The positive knock on effect is that with a product being manufactured to a consistently higher standard, it opens the door to the acquisition of new customers.


With increased safety for employees, a faster rate of production, lower costs and better quality products, there are many reasons to invest in robotic sorting machines. Their ability to sort and count goods of any shape and size mean they can easily fit into any production process and add significant benefits.

According to the Association for Advancing Automation, the first half of 2017 saw a 26% rise in investment compared to the same period the previous year. 2018 looks set to continue that trend as companies across every sector begin to realise the advantages automation can add to their business.

We are always on hand to discuss your requirements in more detail. We’d love to answer any further questions you may have, so feel free to call us on 01223 499488 or email


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Why Use Vision Systems for Quality Control – What Are The Benefits?

3D-inspectionSustaining and improving quality control remains at the heart of any manufacturer who wishes to build a long lasting relationship with their customer base. Quite simply, if your target market can depend on your ability to consistently produce products that meet their levels of expectation it is far more likely your business will continue to grow.

The methods employed by companies vary across the board but ultimately finding the most accurate and cost effective method of providing quality assurance is the goal.  For a long time the manual inspection of the manufacturing process was seen as the most reliable way of maintaining standards. But even the most keen-eyed worker is prone to make mistakes and the repetitive nature of the work will eventually begin to show.

Even with the introduction of machine vision inspection systems there was some hesitation around implementing them into existing processes. Despite the opportunity to reduce wastage and increase data surrounding the production line, they were seen as limited, too expensive and difficult to integrate into existing systems.

Of course, the technology has moved on significantly over the past couple of decades with 2D, 3D and barcode reading systems becoming increasingly common place. There is still some hesitation from some companies unsure as to their value, but with the advances in technology, vision inspection can be carried out extremely fast on high speed production lines; more accurately than a human can do it and at a speed faster than the human eye can see.

2D-visionVision inspection is a generic term that covers a whole spectrum of automatic inspection systems, from digital standard 2D cameras to 3D laser line scanners and more. More recently 3D vision is being used in conjunction with a 6 axis robot for bin picking and other tasks that used to require human input. As AI becomes an increasing reality there is very little that can’t be achieved with automated vision inspection systems.

Using vision for quality control can cover a whole realm of tasks e.g. reading and checking the labels on products, measuring 3D objects to ensure they are manufactured correctly and within tolerance, sensing where products are on a conveyor so they can be picked up with a robot and orientated and placed accurately into a further process or packaging, ensuring products are not scratched marked, checking painting has been carried out correctly and much more.

A vision inspection system that has been properly installed and calibrated will be extremely accurate, fast and reliable. Automated quality control with vision inspection also has many additional benefits compared with people doing manual inspection, it can run 24 hours 7 days a week and it does not need tea breaks, it does not suffer fatigue like people do and will be a lot more accurate and fast. Typically the time saving from running 24/7 without breaks or shift handovers pays for the cost of automated vision inspection very quickly.

According to a 2016 report by Credence Research Inc, the machine vision inspection market is likely to be worth almost $15bn by 2022. The technology is improving year-on-year and making the investment sooner rather than later will give your business that crucial competitive edge. Find out how much a vision inspection system could potentially cost or get in contact with our automation consultants on 01223 499488, or email


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The Granta Story – Your Story, Our Story, a Story of Passion to Continuously Achieve


We love that moment when together we achieve with innovative automation beyond your expectations, and you begin your journey of continuous achievement.

Our many enjoyable hours of conceptualising, discussing, testing, prototyping, designing, drawing,  manufacturing, programming and commissioning are over. The glorious moment has come when together we’re standing in front of the machine and you reach for the start button…

Our eyes light up as we watch the machine come to life; be it motors winding into action, pneumatics hissing, conveyors gently picking up speed, actuators gliding effortlessly, or robots uncurling, the machine becomes a hive of automated activity. Lovingly our hands run over the smooth beautifully engineered framework of the machine and together we watch it produce something new and amazing…

Captivated, we stand watching and smiles spread across our faces…. Coming out of the machine, quicker than ever before, is a freshly packed product, or something newly assembled, or even something that has changed colour… something new, changed and  wonderful. From life saving devices to cleaning chemicals, from beautifully made furniture to solidly made construction products, or even tasty, freshly baked food… a revolution has occurred. Our eyes glaze over as we think back on all those dreams that were once only dreams, but are now a reality in front of us.  It’s your key to success.  We’re delighted!

Created with passion, care and skill, each machine is unique with its own style and meaning. Together we have created a machine that manufactures better, quicker, cheaper and more safely than ever before; producing products that make this world a better and happier place to live.

Together we are strengthening the heart of the UK’s economy and making a positive contribution to many people’s lives.

Before going to bed that evening you grab your smartphone and quickly log into your new automated machinery to find all is running well. Your head rests back on the pillow relaxed and happy; you have achieved, not just for today but for years to come.

Join us on the journey, come and share our passion to continuously achieve with automationAre you ready?

Start this journey – contact us on 01223 499488 or 

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We Love It When We Make Our Customers Happy :)

customer-happyHaving completed a bespoke automation project install our customer wanted to say thank you because:

  • You had everything with you that you needed to do the job
  • You kept the work area clean and tidy
  • You know what you are doing


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How Can I Improve The Throughput Capacity Of My Machinery?

Improve-throughput-capacityMaintaining an efficient throughput is essential to the success of any manufacturing facility. In order to remain competitive production must be sustained at a certain level to keep a steady flow of goods heading out to customers. Any break or delay within the factory can have a negative effect on the rest of the supply chain, creating delays and complications with clients who might begin to shop around for a better service.

Quickly identifying issues within the production cycle that may be preventing the system from maximising throughput will create an efficient manufacturing process and reduce the possibility of customer complaints. As a brief overview, we are going to cover a number of ways in which you can improve the throughput capacity of your machinery.


Clear the bottleneck

In many cases the easiest way to improve throughput capacity is by analysing, identifying and clearing bottlenecks in the process. Bottlenecks occur when a particular part of the system slows down or underperforms, and effects the speed of the process as a whole. Not all bottlenecks are easy to identify so it may take some time to carefully go through each stage to find where the problem exists. Visit our blog post ‘How do I Identify a Bottleneck in My Production Process?’ for help with identifying bottlenecks.

Solutions may include adding additional elements to enable more parts to be manufactured. The opposite could also be true; a section or station may need to be removed and be replaced with something that is able to deal with demands placed upon it. Not everything will come down to the actual machinery itself as you will need to strike the right balance between the time, space and cost involved in implementing the solution.


Keep staff trained and motivated

A good factory or manufacturing facility is only ever as good as its staff. That is also true of highly automated operations as the human factor still plays a vital role in its success.

The ongoing training of staff is not only an investment in their skills but a way to improve the quality of work within the organisation. The direct link between this and efficiency on the production line is unmistakable as undertrained employees will not have a full understanding of where improvements can be gained. When staff are engaged with their work and the process as a whole they see how their role impacts the bigger picture. If they are given guidance on how to use the machines and maximise their section of the process, time can be saved and throughput increased.


Implement automated machinery

If a strong business case can be made to purchase and install automated machinery then the improvements made to the throughput will be almost instant. Whether you operate a manual facility or use a semi-automated process, the introduction of automation will always have a positive impact on quality, speed and efficiency.

E-retailers in particular are transforming the make-up of their warehouses to accommodate the fast paced demands required of them. With short deadlines required from the point of order through to the delivery of the product, automated machinery is able to retain quality of service at a much faster rate.

Those in the manufacturing sector are also realising the benefits of automation; improved quality, increased accuracy, instant fault reporting, reduced downtime, and improved traceability are just a few of the many benefits.  Some of the machines that provide great benefit to the manufacturing sector include robotic machine tending and assembly systems and production monitoring and data logging systems. An assembly system significantly improves loading and unloading times, while a monitoring system maximises efficiency by producing detailed reporting on the system during operation allowing you to track downtime and eliminate any unnecessary downtime.


Improved quality control

Upon analysis you may come to the realisation that the speed of the production line is not where the problem lies. No matter how quickly your assembly process may be, if the quality of the product is not up to standard you will be facing a higher rejection rate.

The impact created from so much time and money being wasted on poorly made products will soon begin to show on the balance sheet. This will no doubt also have a knock-on effect to the deliveries and keeping up with demand for the product.

These consequences are felt some time after the initial problem begins and there are ways to be more efficient by improving quality control and increasing throughput. Vision inspection systems provide accurate quality assurance to ensure productivity remains high, with less money, time and resources wasted on poorly manufactured products.


Improved use of machinery

Reviewing the process within any facility should be common practice implemented even when the system appears to be running smoothly. Getting the most of your process, whether led by machines or by other means of operation, will create an ambitious culture of maximising the tools at your deposal.

If automated machinery is already running within the facility throughput can still be improved by thinking of ways in which the machines can work together. Rather than using individual machines to complete specific tasks, and creating wasted product movement, there are ways in which custom automation can unify the processes. Even in operations that rely on older machinery, these can still be adapted to work with new technology. The time lost by waiting for the transfer from one machine to another can be reduced, improving efficiency and ultimately generating a higher throughput.



There is no one-size-fits-all solution to improve your manufacturing throughput. Whether you are experiencing issues that are slowing down production, or looking at ways to become more efficient, the suggestions above will give you a strong starting point to begin your analysis.

If you are looking for ways to increase throughput capacity within your business, you can contact one of our automation consultants who will be happy to talk through the options available to you. Simply email our helpline, or call us on 01223 499488.


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What Are The Different Types of Pick and Place Robots?


Pick and place robots are available for a wide range of applications.  Whilst this gives you an overview of pick and place robots, the exact type of pick and place robot to suit your application will be very dependent on your specific requirements.

Robotic pick and place systems can be configured for multiple different types of products and plant layouts. As a robotic handling system, it can run without any operator input, to pick and place parts from one process into another, or from a process into packaging or any other application where items need to be moved from one place to another. A robotic pick and place system will reduce repetitive strain injury and worker fatigue, whilst increasing production throughput, productivity and efficiency.

Robotic Arm
Probably the most common type of pick and place robot is the robotic arm type; which typically come as 5 axis robots for standard pick and place application in plane, or 6 axis robots for more complex applications where the products needs twisting from the horizontal (similar to the image above).

The cartesian robot is also a very common type of pick and place robot, that used to be cheaper, but is now not so commonly installed apart from for injection moulding machines.

Delta robots are mounted above conveyors and are typically used for high speed pick and place applications.

Fast Pick
Fast pick robots are also another option for fast pick and place applications; with cycle times as fast as 150 cycles per minute.

In recent years a wide range of different types of collaborative robots have hit the market and these are becoming increasingly used in industrial applications, but they are mostly smaller, slower robots with less of the complex functionality available. This limits their usefulness for some applications.


Installing and commissioning robotic systems requires a wide range of skilled automation engineers; from robot programmers and PLC programmers through to mechanical engineers and CAD design engineers. At Granta we can simulate your production process with robots in it so you can see how robots would look and work in your process.  Looking at a simulation of your production process with robots enables you to make design changes prior to implementation.

A robotic pick and place systems would usually include the following:

  • A robot.
  • Touch screen control system – giving you set up options and a lot of surplus capacity for adding extra functionality such as, conveyors, link up with other machinery and remote production logging and monitoring.
  • Guarding and doors with interlocks and safety as required.
  • Bespoke robot gripper (the price may vary depending on how complex your items are to pick up and handle).
  • A basic conveyor.

With a bespoke designed pick and place system you will also be able to have the design modified suit your requirements. Modification can include; layout, guarding, how many products the robot picks up at once, stacking configuration and much more.

To enable you to get approximate pricing for pick and place robotic systems we have developed an online project builder which has 3 different pick and place options for you to choose from. Obviously pick and place robot systems are all bespoke so this only gives you a rough price guide.


Small Robotic Pick and Place System

Small robotic pick and place systems are usually used where the product is small, and the distance that the product needs to be moved is short. Some example applications where a small pick and place system would be appropriate include; packing chocolates into boxes, transferring small items from a conveyor to a tray or conveyor, placing components into a circuit board, and orientation of small parts.

Watch this short video to see a simulation of a small robotic pick and place system in action. This system was for turning dice for printing all the different faces with bespoke images for games.



Medium Robotic Pick and Place System

Medium pick and place robots are usually used where the product is larger and needs to be moved over a longer distance, or where there are multiple smaller pick and place applications that come together.  Some example applications of a medium pick and place system include; moving products between machines, movement of products within a food production process, and assembly of components.

Watch this short video to see a simulation of a medium robotic pick and place system in action.



Large Robotic Pick and Place System

Large robotic pick and place systems are usually used where the product is very large, or very heavy for example products weighing 100Kg or even up to as much as 1,000Kg +.  Some example applications for a large pick and place system include; moving cars on a production line, moving large sheets of glass and raw materials on production lines etc.

Watch this short video to see a simulation of a large robotic pick and place system handling glass.




Whilst this post gives you a broad overview of the different types of robotic pick and place systems, it is always important to have your own requirements professionally assessed to ensure you receive the optimum solution to meet your needs.  Along with many other benefits, a truly bespoke pick and place system will enable you to increase efficiency, reduce product defects, improve productivity, reduce wasted space, reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury, run your plant 24/7, and improve profits.

If you would like to discuss which pick and place system is likely to be best suited to your application then contact our automation consultants on 01223 499488, or .


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Robotic Machine Tending Explained

A complete robotic machine tending and assembly production line is an excellent way of completely automating your production process so that it can be run with minimal human input.

Robotic machine tending in its basic form is the movement of product from one machine to another, or to a holding or packing area.  Robotic machine tending even in this basic form is a vast improvement on human labour, as you reduce the risk of RSI, eliminate human error, and lower production costs.  However, robotic machine tending doesn’t just stop there…

With today’s advances in technology, robots can also be programmed to complete a process on the product as it move’s it from one area to another.  Be it quality checking the part, de-burring, assembly, or performing finishing touches, this can all be included in the machine tending process.

Robotic machine tending tends to commonly be associated with the production of metal parts, but it doesn’t need to stop there.  It can be used for handling virtually any type of production material, be it metal, polymers, ceramics, or composites.

As with every type of automation, the solution to suit your process will need to be bespoke.  The bespoke aspect of robotic machine tending is very important, as if you want your machines to run as efficiently and productively as possible, the solution has to be tailored specifically to your requirements.  With a bespoke robotic machine tending solution, wasted time and movement can be eliminated. After all, the less machining and processing time you need to enable you to produce the finished product, the more profit there is for you!

The first step towards installing a robotic machine tending process is to have your production process assessed by a competent automation supplier.  They will be able to look at your complete process and recommend solutions.

An example robotic machine tending process may run something like this;

  1. A pallet feeder feeds pallets into the system automatically.
  2. A robot takes parts out of an injection moulding machine, CNC machine or any other machine tending application.
  3. The robot then assembles the parts and stacks them onto pallets.
  4. A stretch-wrapping machine automatically stretch wraps the pallets.
  5. The finished pallets are automatically fed out of the system on a conveyor.

Systems such as these reduce labour requirements, reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury and reduce worker fatigue whilst increasing production throughput, productivity and efficiency.

A robotic machine tending system from Granta for this type of application would usually include:

  • A machine tending and assembly robot.
  • An Automatic pallet feeding system.
  • Pallet feeding conveyors.
  • Integration with the output of your CNC machine(s), injection moulding machine(s) or other machine tending application.
  • Assembly mounts and jigs.
  • A stretch-wrapping machine.
  • A touch screen control system.
  • Guarding and doors with interlocks and safety as required.
  • A bespoke robot gripper.

Click here to get an instant quote to see how cheaply you can take your business to the next level using bespoke robotic machine tending.

If you would like to find out more about robotic machine tending, contact us on 01223 499488 or

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Another Happy Customer!


“Granta Automation provided us with a well-engineered solution within our expected timescales. We look forward to working further with them in 2018”

– Print Equipment Manufacturer



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Advantages and Disadvantages of Robotic Automation


The growing popularity of robotic automation across a wide range of sectors looks set to continue over the next few years, as businesses look to take advantage of the many benefits it offers. Manufacturers in the UK are starting invest more in the technology in preparation for our departure from the EU, allowing them to maintain their competitive edge in the market.

Naturally, not everyone has been convinced of the advantages robotic automation can deliver. There is still some cautiousness about adapting an existing production line, with some reasonable objections posed by those yet to try the technology. To address both sides of the discussion, we have put together a few brief advantages and disadvantages of using robotic automation.



Cost Effectiveness

There will be no lunchbreaks, holidays, sick leave or shift time allocated for robotic automation. It can be set to work on a repetitive cycle, and as long as it is maintained correctly, it will continue to do so until programmed otherwise.   This eliminates the risk of RSI occuring.

The increase in production at a lower cost produces obvious benefits for any manufacturer. The cost of investment can be recovered in a relatively short space of time and the gains from that point onwards are exponential to say the least.


Improved Quality Assurance

Few workers enjoy doing repetitive tasks and after a certain period of time concentration levels will naturally decline. This leads to costly errors for the business and sometimes serious injury to the member of staff.

Robotic automation eliminates these risks by accurately producing and checking items meet the required standard without fail. With more product going out the door manufactured to a higher standard, this creates a number of new business possibilities for companies to expand upon.


Increased Productivity

Using robotic automation to tackle repetitive tasks makes complete sense. Robots are designed to make repetitive movements. Humans, also by design, are not.

Giving staff members the opportunity to expand on their skills and work in other areas will create a better environment which the business as a whole will benefit from. With higher energy levels and more focus put into their work, the product can only improve, which will also lead to extremely satisfied clients.


Work In Hazardous Environments

Aside from potential injuries in the workplace, staff members in particular industries can be asked to work in unstable or dangerous environments. For example, if a high level of chemicals are present, robotic automation offers the ideal solution, as it will continue to work without harm.

Production areas that require extremely high or low temperatures typically have a high turnover of staff due to the nature of the work. Automated robots can minimise material waste and remove the need for humans to put themselves at unnecessary risk.




Potential Job Losses

One of the biggest concerns surrounding the introduction of robotic automation is the impact of jobs for workers. If a robot can perform at a faster, more consistent rate, then the fear is that humans may not be needed at all. While these worries are understandable, they are not really accurate.

The same was said during the early years of the industrial revolution, and as history has showed us, humans continued to play an essential role. Amazon are a great example of this. The employment rate has grown rapidly during a period where they have gone from using around 1,000 robots to over 45,000.


Initial Investment Costs

This is typically the biggest obstacle that will decide whether or not a company will invest in robotic automation, or wait until a later stage. A comprehensive business case must be built when considering the implementation of this technology. The returns can be substantial and quite often occur within a short space of time. However, the cash flow must be sustainable in the meantime and the stability of the company is by no means worth the risk if the returns are only marginal. Yet, in most instances there will be a repayment schedule available, which makes it a lot easier to afford and control finances.

Increased throughput and reduction in defects both need to be considered along with the capital expenditure when deciding whether or not there is a business case for investment.


Hiring Skilled Staff

Over the past decade manufacturers have found it harder to source skilled staff members to fill the specialised roles in their factories. The introduction of automation adds another layer to that conundrum as the robots require programming and a knowledge of how to operate them. In reality, this opens up further opportunities for existing employees to be trained and expand their own skill set. An automation company can assist with the initial installation and set-up process, and with the right expertise staff can learn and adapt to manage the robots in the long-term.


To find out if robotic automation offers the right solutions for your business, try our Project Builder which will guide you through the process of understanding the machinery, along with potential costs. Alternatively, you can always contact our sales team who are always on hand to quickly respond to your questions, and provide detailed answers based on your current requirements. They can be contacted on 01223 499488, or via email at

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