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Aug 22, 2019

New Generation Robots Enter The Shop Floor

New Generation Robots give the operator more comfort and control. They help us stay ahead in a fast-changing market.

Concepts such as autonomous driving, e-vehicles, IoT, and Industry 4.0 are all around us. They are redefining our shop floor and improving workflows.

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Training goes hand-in-hand with new gen robots

From the operator to the plant manager, a person working on a smart shop floor needs to have:

  • Autonomy
  • Flexibility
  • Problem solving skills
  • Leadership skills

These qualities help the team harness a machine’s full potential and adapt. Operators often change workstations or switch from one task to several tasks on the line. Team members get these skills on the shop floor, and technical champions create and put in place best practices. One example is the cam machining process improvements developed in Brno that we are implementing group-wide.

100 robots by 2025

By 2025 we will double the number of robots. Customized components create the challenge of adjusting quality checkpoints for each part number. Automated controls improve quality by complementing manual checks. Robot cameras and sensors help handle components and correct errors. Robots will aid production stability, especially in areas with workforce shortage. Mobile robots will transfer parts between cells. This will ease one-piece flow, support stock management, and allow for smaller batches. Processes leaner and more agile.

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4.0 robots

At the beginning of the decade, robots performed repetitive tasks and high quantities. They worked in designated areas without operator interference to avoid injuries. Today’s 4.0 generation mixes machine learning and Human-Robot Collaboration.

Poclain Hydraulics’ new robots will interact with operators. They will perform complicated tasks such as "pick and place". Pick and place uses cameras and mechanical fingers to pick up a part on a workstation and place it into a machine. This allows operators focus on complex tasks. The Gaggio, Italy plant already uses a pick-and-place robot at a machining station.

Machine learning will allow the robots to diagnose internal vibrations or overheating. They will be able to signal a potential breakdown and carry out preventive maintenance to avoid line shut down.

Automation is happening group-wide

new-generation-robots-2019-5Robots are operational in Marnaz, France, on piston machining lines. They work in Yorkville on brand-new lines. Žiri, Slovenia also has several automated units. The Verberie plant plans to integrate automated guided vehicles to transfer parts from inventory to the assembly line.

Our investment in these new-gen robots is key for our intelligently-networked value chain, now and in the future.