Case Study

Cobots boost CNC Machine Productivity and Free Up Manpower


EMI Integrated Systems

Automated Machines

Milling, Mill-turning, CMM and laser marking machines


Medical, Aerospace, High Tech

The short story

EMI, a manufacturing company specializing in high-precision and complex parts for the high-tech, medical, and aerospace industries, faced the challenge of increasing productivity to remain competitive while suffering from professional manpower shortage. EMI realized automation was the only way to face the challenge; releasing their skilled workers from simple repetitive tasks, which can be done by CNC robots. The partnership with acubez™ and Universal Robots enabled the company to overcome this challenge. Since EMI deployed the modular, UR cobot-powered acubez™ solution to automate milling and mill-turning machines, CMM machines and laser marking machines, it has added hundreds of production hours to its capacity annually, resulting in the machine tending robots paying themselves back in 12-18 months while also increasing overall efficiency (OEE) significantly from ~70% to ~95%.


 The business transformation

EMI works mainly with 4-5 axis CNC milling and mill-turn machines. The company manufactures mainly small to medium size batches of tens to thousands of parts per batch, also known as high mix low volume manufacturing.

EMI supplies its customers all around the world with high quality parts. Like most of the industries that become increasingly sophisticated, EMI is also challenged by the professional manpower shortage combined with the need to increase productivity, making the the EMI team realize that it had to make a shift. The company’s skilled workers need to be released from simple repetitive tasks, which can be done by cobots.

What they did

EMI’s partnership with acubez™ and Universal Robots enabled the company to overcome the challenge of increasing productivity with machine tending robots despite suffering from manpower shortage.

Compact, flexible and low financial risk

Acubez™ modular automation solution with UR10 and UR5 cobots empowered EMI to transform their traditional factory into an industry 4.0 manufacturing floor. “As high mix low volume manufacturer, being able to configure custom automation platforms for the different needs and applications of our CNC machines was a game changer for us at EMI,” says Joshua Ulmer, CEO, EMI Integrated Systems:

“Choosing between a UR10 or UR5 cobot arm, depending on the payload or automating the workflow with trays and lift modules and different grippers on the gripper module (tool changer) helped us realize the vision of automation at a low financial risk. Even if we started with a low-capacity platform, the option to seamlessly add additional modules later on based on changing tasks or demands was a future-proof investment for us.”

Grow as-you-go: modular automation

The standard automation platform is equipped with the ‘acubez™ touch’, an intuitive software, that identifies the connected UR cobot arm and all other modules (e.g lift, storage, trays, quality assurance, end-of-arm-tools, cnc auto door  and more), enabling any worker on the floor to set up the machine tending robot without prior programming or CNC automation knowledge.    

This end-to-end automation solution addresses the main challenges in the manufacturing industry, especially in the high-mix, low volume segment. The acubez™ automation solution frees up skilled workers to focus on tasks in which their professional skills are needed.


Future-proof investment with fast ROI

Since EMI started using the acubez automation solution with integrated machine tending robot, “dead times” aren’t seen any more in the efficiency charts, and the company’s overall efficiency (OEE) has increased significantly from ~70% to ~95%. “Imagine coming to the factory after a weekend, and finding that your machines ran uninterrupted throughout the weekend, producing flawless, consistent parts. That is EMI’s reality today,” explains Rave. “Ever since this solution was implemented into the machining processes, our company has added over 1,200-1600 production hours per each automated milling machine annually.” 

Operation-wise, EMI is able to provide more products in a shorter time to its customers, with the same manpower and machine resources as before. “We simply know that the CNC robot will show up to its shift every single time, a fact which enables us to commit to our customers with a higher level of confidence regarding the delivery times,” says EMI’s COO.The company was surprised by the short return on investment on the automation project. “From our experience we are talking about 12 to 18 months, which is a very short period,” says the company’s CEO, Joshua Ulmer. 

EMI constantly continues to automate its manufacturing processes by adding more acubez™ modules and platforms on the manufacturing floor to eventually achieve the company’s vision: being an industry 4.0 smart factory, providing its customers with the best and most advanced service. 


About EMI Integrated Systems Ltd.

EMI Integrated Systems Ltd. is trusted by industry leaders in the medical device, aerospace, and high-tech industries around the world, to deliver complex, high-precision parts, electromechanical modules, and assemblies. Employing the most advanced techniques and equipment, EMI is committed to manufacturing at the highest levels of quality and complexity.  EMI has three decades of experience merged with knowledge and expertise at the cutting-edge of technology for high-precision electromechanical parts and modules. This combination allows the company to offer exclusive tailor-made engineering and manufacturing solutions using all types of metals, plastics, and exotic materials, on schedule and with excellence you can rely on. 

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Automation challenges solved

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Key value drivers

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Tasks solved by acubez™ platform

– first published at universal-robots.com