Dorset manufacturer goes robotic to boost productivity and sales
A specialist in precision machined components has invested in its first-ever robot to help it boost capacity and achieve ‘lights-out’ automation.
Dorset-based Brimor Engineering, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, has installed a new HALTER LoadAssistant® from the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) as part of ambitious plans to capitalise on a recent 20% increase in sales.
The company was looking for a compact solution that was easy to use and suited to a production environment where short set-up times are essential for the efficient use of the machines.
It is an investment decision that is already reaping dividends, with the automated loading of up to 100 workpieces giving the firm the opportunity to free up staff to work on other machines and in different roles.
Chris Harley, Managing Director at Brimor Engineering, explained: “A lot of our precision components and assemblies are heading for the automotive industry, so there is a lot of pressure on making sure you deliver high quality and increasingly reducing lead times.
“As a small manufacturer, we have to be clever in our approach to achieving this and pinpointed the need to automate the loading process on one of our CNCs to help us continue production throughout the night.”
He continued: “This is where ETG came into the equation and guided us through the different technology options until we settled on the Halter LoadAssistant®. It is our first investment in robotics and has fitted seamlessly into our Blandford Forum factory, potentially saving us up to four weeks of production time every year.
“We’ve had a really strong 2018 and, now we have freed up additional capacity, we want to go after new opportunities in sectors that are looking for precision complex components and speed of delivery.”
ETG, which is a leading distributor for Halter CNC Automation in the UK, quickly identified the right solution, specified the robot and completed delivery.
One of its experts has already trained three of Brimor Engineering’s staff on the technology and how to maximise its capabilities, including a rotating loading table, Fanuc 6-axis robotic arm, HALTER SmartControl and operator console with 15” touchscreen.
“Our technical experts have seen a significant increase in the number of ‘lights-out’ projects we are taking on, where we will work with sub-contractors to explore the possibility of producing components through the night without any labour costs,” added Steve Brown, Sales Director at the Engineering Technology Group.
“Advancements in technology mean this scenario is not purely the property of the big boys, with millions of pounds set aside to introduce it. No, instead SMEs like Brimor Engineering are switching on to the benefits this new industrial trend can bring.
“Although the key driver of ‘lights-out’ is to reduce labour costs, it is also possible to save money in other areas of the business. Having longer production through the night will enable more time to do shorter batch runs during the day for example.”
Engineering Technology Group (ETG) delivers highly productive turnkey solutions to customers involved in automotive, aerospace, domestic goods, high-value engineering, medical and oil and gas.