Try Automated Robotic Palletising Of Your Product Before You Buy

Our try before you buy scheme has been developed to allow you to see how your product would work on the Granta palletising system before you commit to investing capital in the system.

Often one of the questions asked when introducing automated palletising into a production process is ‘How well will it work for my product?’ and this is a very fair question. Automated palletising works well for virtually all products, but we are very happy to prove this to you by demonstrating the palletiser handing your product before you commit to the capital outlay required.

There are many different factors that can influence the optimum method of palletising of your product; shape, size, regularity of shape, weight, texture, solidity, etc. Some products may need different types of gripper due to irregular shape, specific handling points on the product, etc. All of these factors have to be considered before the best method of palletising your product can be ascertained.

Although we are confident that automated palletising will work, we offer this try before you buy scheme to provide certainty around your investment and to give you peace of mind. Without a trial of your product on a palletiser before you commit to the capital expenditure, it is very difficult for you to be certain as to how well your product will palletise. Whilst you may be palletising bags, and there are multiple bag palletiser options available, there are also multiple factors that can affect how well the bags will stack. Some of the factors that will have an effect on how well a pallet is stacked include; how full the bag is, are the contents of the bag free flowing, are the bag contents uneven. Sometimes with particularly challenging shapes or types of product, how well your bags will palletise, and what modifications the gripper will need to enable your bags to palletise correctly, can only be determined by a trail.

As we realise the importance of trying your product on an automated palletiser before you buy, we have developed a try before you buy scheme that enables you to do this. You can either

  • Send us your product to try on a palletiser and we will send you videos of the trial so that you can see whether or not automated palletising is going to work for you.
  • Or, you can visit Granta to watch a trial of your product on a palletiser.

Both of these methods offer you a fool proof method of ensuring that your investment in robotic palletising is sound and will yield the necessary return on investment for you.

Contact us to book your free trial helpline@granta-automation.co.uk or 01223 499488.

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Plug and Play Entry Point Screening and Sanitiser Station

 

 

The Sense & Sanitise Station is a plug and play entry point screening and sanitiser dispensing system that has been developed in response to the current crisis.

It is a two hand sanitiser unit with a calibrated infra red temperature monitoring sensor. The sensor monitors the persons forehead temperature, dispenses sanitiser and then displays a customisable enter/no entry read out based on the persons temperature.

This system allows you to minimise risk by ensuring that everyone has hand sanitiser on both hands and has been temperature screened before entry. The system can be used in three ways;

  1. As a stand-alone unit by the entrance doors, which people are requested to use before entering.
  2. Linked to a physical gate or door, which only opens once sanitiser has been applied and the temperature reading is ok.
  3. Linked to a sensor system that sounds a warning tone if someone passes without using the unit or tries to pass after receiving a No Entry reading.

Browse our Sense & Sanitise website for more information or contact us on 01223 499477.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Machine for Assembling Face Visors and Face Shields

We are currently manufacturing machines for assembling face visors or face shields. These machines are able to assemble face visors/shields at approximately 1.5 visors per second, per machine whilst improving production speeds and manufacturing quality. Over 40,000 face visors or shields can be assembled per 8 hour shift, and machines can be run 24/7 if required.

If you would like help with PPE manufacturing machines or visor and sheild manufacturing machines please get in touch with us on 01223 499488 or helpline@granta-automation.co.uk .

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Automation and Covid-19 – Why Is It So Important?

As we all know, Covid-19 and automation is a pretty topical subject right now, but why exactly is this? Why is automation deemed to be so pivotal to the recovery of the UK Economy in the aftermath of Covid-19?

 

Let’s start by taking a step back in time…

Following the 2007-2009 recession, one of the reasons the UK has not returned to the pre-crisis growth trend on GDP per head is due to what is known as the ‘Productivity Puzzle’. Productivity in the UK has taken nearly 10 years to recover to pre-crisis levels. However, we know that increasing productivity is essential to improving the economy and our standard of living. This is not done by making people work harder or faster, it is achieved when each hour of input is made to yield more output per hour than before. This is explained in more detail in the video below.

See the full transcript here. https://www.granta-automation.co.uk/news/the-key-to-prosperity-and-better-standards-of-living/

 

So how does all this relate to automation and Covid-19?

In the wake of another economic downturn, we have the benefit of hindsight and reflection on previous economic downturns, and can use these to enable us to recover quicker from the current crisis.

Whilst the government have published their ‘Covid-19 Recovery Strategy’ there is pressure on them to publish a plan for the UK economic recovery. However, with the advantage of knowledge gained from previous recessions, we already know that increasing productivity is key to recovering quickly from this downturn. Automation has a key part to play in increasing productivity. Some specific examples of how automation will help us to recover from the situation created by Covid-19 are shown below.

 

Shift Work

As a result of Covid-19 there are two main reasons why shift work may have become a priority for some manufacturing companies; to meet additional demand, or additional shifts are now necessary as a result of social distancing measures.

There are a variety of different ways that automation can help assist with shift work. Processes can be automated to remove the need for manual labour, or automation can be used to assist production workers thus reducing the requirement for extra shifts to meet production requirements. Processes that can be quickly and easily automated are things such as palletising, quality checking, and box filling.

 

Social Distancing

As we all know, social distancing can create issues where your production process requires your employees to work closely together. Automation can be used to help overcome these barriers; processes can be fully automated to remove the need for manual labour, or partially automated to remove the need for more than one operator to complete the process.

 

Bringing Production Back In-house

With Covid-19 having caused such major disruption to supply chains, many companies are now looking to bring production processes back in-house or at least back home from abroad. As a result, this is causing many companies to re-think their entire production process and the way things are done. With the developments in automation over recent years, bringing production back in house, or back to the UK, does not necessarily mean an increase in the cost of goods produced. Payback can quickly be calculated using our Automation Project Payback calculator, and you will usually find that once you have also included the value of the intangible benefits of bringing production back in- house, the project payback time is very, very quick.

 

Increasing Productivity

One of the key takeaways from the Covid-19 epidemic for manufacturing companies, or those considering becoming a UK manufacturer, is that if we want to get ahead in the UK, our productivity (output per hour) must increase. One of the key methods of achieving this is by introducing automation. As you will have seen in the video above, if with automation one production worker can produce 50 widgets per hour rather than 10, output per hour increases by 500%! This shows how powerful automation is in increasing productivity. Find out what the productivity of your current production process is using our downloadable calculators.

 

If you would like to discuss anything in this article or require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01223 499488 or helpline@granta-automation.co.uk.

 

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Posted in Bespoke Automation, Bespoke Machinery Automation, Custom Automation, Custom Built Machinery, Custom Machinery Automation, Palletiser, Palletising, Production Monitoring, Robotic Automation, Robotic Palletising, Uncategorized, Vision Inspection | Tagged , | Comments Off on Automation and Covid-19 – Why Is It So Important?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Automated Palletising

Automated palletising is a machine or system that stacks products onto pallets. Palletisers may be either robotic or mechanical, and goods will usually be picked and placed as individual products or as a complete layer.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of automated palletising and these are explained here in more detail.

 Disadvantages of Automated Palletising 

  1. Capital Expenditure
    Automated palletising systems usually yield a positive ROI very quickly, however there is still always the need for an initial capital outlay. Before making a decision we recommend you consider both the investment needed and also the ROI you expect to achieve. When calculating ROI it is important to calculate the value of both the tangible and intangible benefits before deciding whether there is a business case for investment. Another alternative is to look at hiring or leasing the palletising system rather than making an outright purchase. Often the hire or leasing cost is less per month than the saving you will make.
  1. Gets Rid of Jobs
    This is indeed true that with the introduction of automated palletising, staff will no longer be required to palletise your products. However, statistics have shown that many companies have been able to re-train their staff to enable them to work in other areas of the business. Many companies have also found that after introducing automation and improving the throughput of their production process, their sales have risen, thus creating more jobs in different parts of the business. Staff morale is usually higher after implementing automation.
  1. Re-Programming Can Be Expensive When Product or Production Process Changes
    In most cases, when a product size or production process changes, a costly programmer is required to re-program the automated palletising system. However, with today’s advances in technology, there are now automated palletising systems available that can be re-programmed by your factory floor staff (see Granta Automation easy program palletiser). It is also possible to purchase modular palletising systems that can be quickly and easily moved and re-configured within your factory as and when your production process changes. Systems such as these ensure that your automated palletising system does not become redundant when your production process or product changes.

 

Advantages of Automated Palletising  

  1. Improved Working Environment
    Automated palletising improves the working conditions and safety within your production process or plant by eliminating the manual handling element of palletising and therefore removing the rise of repetitive strain injuries occurring. This in turn will significantly reduce the risk of RSI claims occurring and make a safer working environment for your staff.
  1. Cost Effectiveness
    Automated palletising systems can be programmed to run in sync with your production process. This means that for as many hours of the day that there are products coming off your production line, the automated palletiser will be palletising them. There is also no production downtime due to breaks, holidays or sick leave as the manual element of palletising has been removed. Removing these unplanned downtimes improves the OEE of your production process and increases throughput, thus increasing your profits.
  1. Effective Across Multiple Production Lines
    Depending on the layout of your production process you may have multiple palletising stations within your factory. This may mean that you need to have a person stationed at the end of each production process, but due to the speed of the product coming off the machine, they are not busy all of the time. This in itself creates an inefficiency in the process as you are effectively having to pay for wasted time/labour. With an automated palletising system it is possible to use one system for palletising off multiple production processes, thus increasing efficiencies.
  1. Improve Product Quality
    Automated palletising also results in less damaged product leaving your factory. This has a twofold benefit as it not only improves your customer service due to improved product quality, but also means you are less likely to receive damaged goods claims and returns.
  1. No Labour Crisis
    Recruiting for repetitive, manual labour tasks such as palletising is becoming increasingly difficult in the current environment. Installation of an automated palletising system eliminates the need to recruit for this role. 
  1. Payback On Investment
    Installing an automated palletising system usually has a very quick payback time as you are saving costs on labour as well as improving your efficiencies. Download our free Automation Project Payback Calculator to find out what the payback time would be for your process.

If you would like any further help on the advantages or disadvantages of automated palletisers, please contact us on 01223 499488 or helpline@granta-automation.co.uk.

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Robotic Bag Palletiser Video

Have you seen this video?

More information on the GA15 Robotic Bag Palletiser can be found here.

 

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Have You Watched This Video?

GA15 Robotic Box Palletising Video

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Downloadable Safety Distance Calculator

Hazards must come to a safe state prior to an operator reaching the hazard. For safety distance calculations, ISO 13855 defines the distance as follows:

S = K x T + C:

To help you calculate safety distances we have created a downloadable safety distance calculator which can be downloaded via this link.

If you have any questions or difficulties filling it in, feel free to contact us on 01223 499488 and we will be glad to help.

 

Posted in Bespoke Automated Packing, Bespoke Automation, Bespoke Machinery, Bespoke Machinery Automation, Company news, Custom Automation, Custom Built Machinery, Custom Machinery Automation, Formulas, Machinery Integration, Old Machinery Automation, Palletiser, Robotic Automation, Robotic Palletising, Technical Information, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments Off on Downloadable Safety Distance Calculator

Zero Cost Ideas To Boost Factory Output

Boosting factory output is something that every manufacturing company wants to do as increased output directly translates into increased profits. However, this can often require capital investment, increased staff costs, and increase overheads, which all start to eat into that extra profit you can make by increasing your factory output.

Here we look into some zero cost ways that you can boost your factory output.

 

Track OEE

OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) is a calculation that can be done to show exactly how effective your machinery or factory is. It takes into account the speed at which the machine or factory runs, the quality of the finished products produced and the actual machine operating time versus the available operating time. OEE is best calculated per machine rather than across the whole factory as it is then easier to identify where improvements need to be made to help improve productivity. An OEE calculator can be downloaded from here.

Once you have identified the OEE of your machinery, you will then be able to identify which parts of your process aren’t running at full efficiency. This will enable you to put measures in place to reduce or eliminate the inefficiencies, and thus improve the efficiency of your machinery.

 

Hold Daily Improvement Meetings

Daily improvement meetings are key to increasing employee engagement and creating an ownership mentality amongst your staff. Hold a daily whole team huddle and ask each of your staff to name an improvement they made the day before, or to make an improvement suggestion. Don’t limit your staff to just the area they work in, and don’t penalise them if they don’t have an idea to mention for a day or two. What you will find as a result from these daily meetings is that your staff start to take ownership for improving the business and driving better results. They become motivated by the part they have to play in the big picture of improving the business and they enjoy seeing their suggestions taken up. Often you will find that given the ‘rope’ to run with, your staff will come up with some very innovative and creative ways of improving processes.

Some of the ideas that come up in these meetings may also cause you to question some of your processes, and whether they are necessary, or duplicative. This is something that you can then investigate further outside of your daily team meetings.

 

Brainstorm With Employees

Hold a brainstorm session with your employees on how to boost your factory output. You will find that as your employees are working on the ‘coal face’, they will often have a different view to you as to what is restricting production output, and given the right forum they will often come up with innovative ways to solve these challenges. It may be a machine that’s always stopping, or a process that is not working properly so the process has to be done twice to achieve the desired result. All too often staff working on the factory floor will just work around inefficiencies in the process, and as a manager you may not even be aware of them. That is why it’s so beneficial to give your staff the forum to share their knowledge of these inefficiencies and to work together with them to find solutions.

 

Create A Daily Scoreboard

Everyone plays to win, and if you want your staff to play their best, they need to know if they’re winning. Involve your staff in creating daily personal or small team targets for their area of the production process. Their targets must be something that is directly influenceable by them, and achievable, otherwise it won’t have a motivating effect. If your staff have had part in creating the target there will be a far higher buy in than if the targets are forced on them.

Once you’ve agreed the targets, all you need is a piece of paper and a pen to create a scoreboard. Depending on the type of target you have agreed, all you need to then do is to update the scoreboard daily or hourly so that you staff can see exactly where they are in relation to their target. You will find that as you staff see their score going up and they can see their success, the pace will speed up and your production output will increase.

 

Identify Bottlenecks

Identifying and eliminating bottlenecks in your production process is key to improving output. Information on how to identify bottlenecks in your production process is available here. Once you have identified where your bottlenecks are, you will then be able to put strategies in place to ensure that your bottleneck is running at maximum efficiency. Quality checking parts before they enter the bottleneck, reducing the load on the bottleneck, and increasing the capacity of the bottleneck are all ways to exploit the bottleneck.

Once you have identified and exploited your bottleneck, you will often find that the bottleneck moves to another area of your production and you need to go through this process again to exploit that bottleneck.

 

Reduce Downtime

Reducing unplanned downtime is key to improving production output. Unplanned downtime is usually the result of one of two reasons; machine break downs, or staff breaks.

Machine break downs can be minimised by holding regular preventative maintenance sessions on your machinery. Whilst it may appear inefficient to regularly shut down your production for maintenance, if it is done in a planned manner, you will find there’s less lost production output from this than there would be from unplanned breakdowns.

Staff breaks are the other reason for downtime in a production process. There are two different approaches to minimising downtime from staff breaks, and you will need to decide which method works best for your production process. One method is to ensure that your staff take staggered breaks so that the production process can continue to run constantly. The other method is to ensure that your staff all take their breaks at the same time, for the same length of time. This means that your production process will stop for a set amount of time each day, but it will be predictable and controlled, and you know it will be running efficiently in between these break times.

 

Stay Organized

Disorganisation can result in many lost man-hours and wasted production time. Ensuring that your manufacturing plant is clearly organised and kept tidy will save many hours of lost production. Make sure every tool, part, or product has a clearly marked place where it should live.

When organising each working area think about how and when the tools or parts are going to be used, and ensure that they are stored in the most efficient place for what they are going to be used for. Think about your manufacturing floor as a whole, is everything in the most efficient place? Is there anything that could be easily and simply moved to improve efficiencies and thus improve production output?

 

Reduce The Walking

Reducing the walking that your production staff have to do is a basic lean principle of saving wasted time/motion. However, there is a further significant benefit to reducing walking that is not often talked about. When staff have to walk off your production process to get something, they will often be passing other staff on the way, and will often stop for a quick hello or a chat. Before you know it, 5 wasted minutes have passed. If one member of your production process is having a 5 minute chat every 50 minutes, this is reducing your productivity by 10%!

Look at your production process and see what walking is having to be done by your staff. Find ways to reduce the walking or minimise it as far as possible and you will start to see an increase in productivity.

 

Daily Production Line Audit

Take a daily walk around your production area, and make sure you do this at a different time each day. Before you go for your walk around, take off your managers ‘hat’ and put on your improvements, problem finder ‘hat’; take a view of your production as a whole with no preconceptions. Talk to your staff, find out what’s gone well for them so far today and what hasn’t.

As you do these daily walk rounds you will begin to build up a picture of what is actually going on in the production process and you will start to see where the inefficiencies are and where improvements could be made. It may even make you start to question some of the processes and whether they are necessary of if there could be a better way of doing them.

 

Identify Wastage

Identifying wastage in your process is key to streamlining and improving your production output. The eight key wastes in lean manufacturing are;

  1. Overproduction
  2. Waiting (time on hand)
  3. Unnecessary transport or conveyance
  4. Overprocessing or incorrect processing
  5. Excess inventory
  6. Motion
  7. Defects
  8. Unused employee genius

Analyse your production processes, which of these wastes do you have, how can you minimise or eliminate them?

 

Get New Machinery At No Net Cost To Your Bottom Line

Having worked through all of the above you may find that you need to introduce some new machinery to improve your production process. If this is the case, you need to look for a company that offers finance deals on the purchase of new machinery such as palletisers, bespoke machinery, vision systems, etc. With the right finance deal, you will find that you will be getting more ROI from the new machinery than the repayments on the finance deal. What’s more, with a finance deal there is no need for an initial capital outlay as repayments can be spread over a longer period of time, enabling you to realise the benefit of the new machinery whilst making capital repayments. Try our automation project payback calculator as this calculates ROI as well as showing finance deal options and costs. Download the calculator here.

 

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article in more detail then feel free to contact us on 01223 499488.

 

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Posted in Bespoke Automation, Bespoke Machinery, Bespoke Machinery Automation, Custom Automation, Custom Control Systems, Custom Machinery Automation, Granta Updates, Palletiser, Production Line Control Systems, Production Monitoring, Robotic Automation, Robotic Palletising, Uncategorized, Vision Inspection | Tagged , | Comments Off on Zero Cost Ideas To Boost Factory Output

What Type of Robot Do I Need?

When specifying a robot for an application there are many different things that need to be considered. What space is available? What is the robot going to be lifting? What speeds need to be achieved? What environment is it in? How accurate does the robot need to be when picking and placing the item? These are just a few of the question that need to be answered before you will be able to select the best robot for your application.

The best place to start is to analyse exactly what you want the robot to do. What are you trying to achieve by installing a robot? What space have you got available? What does the throughput need to be to make the project viable?

Below we explain in more detail what the different types of robot are, and what applications they are most suited to.

 

Collaborative robots

Collaborative robots have been designed to allow a human to work alongside them without the need for guarding. They are typically slower than industrial robots and have a lower payload. However, they have the benefits of force monitoring, and the fact that they often don’t need guarding.

Some of the more common uses for collaborative robots include; pick and place, machine tending, gluing, dispensing, welding, polishing, grinding, de-burring, assembly, painting, coating, dipping.

Introducing cobots to your production process does not only have the benefit of reducing the risk of repetitive strain injuries occurring, but can also have the added impact of reducing wastage of consumables in such as glue, fasteners etc.

 

Industrial robots

There are four main subcategories of industrial robot, each of which is explained in more detail below.

Robotic Arm

Probably the most common type of pick and place robot is the robotic arm type. They typically come as 5 axis robots for standard pick and place applications in a horizontal plane, or 6 axis robots for more complex applications where the products needs twisting from the horizontal. Robotic arms are able to work with a high degree of accuracy at high speeds, and are able to take high payloads.

Some of the most common applications for industrial robots include: welding, material handling, machine tending, painting, pick and place, packing, palletising, assembly, cutting, grinding, de-burring, polishing, gluing, adhesive sealing, and spraying materials.

Cartesian Robot

Cartesian robots are also known as linear or gantry robots. They are 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 machine applications. The advantages of a Cartesian robot is that they have high positional accuracy and can handle heavy loads. However, the disadvantage of a Cartesian robot is that movement is limited to only one direction at a time.

Applications that suit Cartesian robots include pick and place operations, loading and unloading, material handling, assembly and sub-assembly, and adhesive applications.

Delta Robot

Delta robots are mounted above the workspace and are typically used for high speed pick and place, or product transfer applications. The advantages of delta robots are their high speed and high operational accuracy.

Scara Robot

Scara robots, also known as fast pick robots, are an excellent option for fast pick and place applications; with cycle times as fast as 150 cycles per minute. Fast pick robots can also be used in packaging and assembly processes as well.

 

Robot Grippers

As robots can handle such a wide variety of products, the gripper on a robot is usually custom made to suit the application. However, there are four main types of gripper; vacuum, pneumatic, hydraulic and servo-electric.

 

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