Improving workers’ safety and productivity with manufacturing automation

Okuma CNC machines fully automated with acubez machine tending solution, including conveyor module
How advancements in cobot machine tending automation are providing greater workplace safety, productivity, and overall profitability

A profession in manufacturing can be dangerous. Plant managers and floor staff are required to tend machines and carry out processes that involve complex machinery and large moving parts, leading to tens of thousands of injuries per year throughout the industry. There is, however, a revolution taking place of Industry 4.0-based manufacturing automation that directly impacts the lives and workplaces of manufacturers: cobot machine tending solutions – increasing safety and productivity.

Seen with great impact in the high-mix, low-volume manufacturing sector, automation is beginning to combat the nearly 8.4% rate of worker injuries in manufacturing per year – meaning that more than 8 of 100 manufacturing workers report injuries each year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020 – 8.4% of workers reported incidental occupational injuries and illnesses in nonfatal cases).

Improving safety with cobot-based modular automation solutions

Within the greater world of manufacturing, collaborative automation platforms are taking the lead as the most effective in increasing overall safety levels for floor managers and business owners. 

Engineered as cobot-based solutions, these user-friendly automation platforms provide a thorough solution for the need to place hardware between floor workers and the operating machinery (ie. CNC, mill-turning, laser-marketing, etc. machines). Governed by ISO/TS 15066, the robot arm has numerous built-in safety features:

  1. Safety-rated monitored stop
  2. Hand guiding
  3. Speed and separation monitoring
  4. Power and force limiting¹

Additional safety features, unique to the acubez™ modular automation platform, are the advanced proprietary technologies of a self-identification system and a tailor-programmed cobot arm that auto-calculates the platform’s optimal movements and timing with calculation algorithms. By doing so, the platform successfully keeps the robot arm within the body of the platform, reducing the risk of injury to a minimum. Alternatively, industrial automation solutions are distinguishable by their large swinging robot arms that require large safety fences; dramatically increasing the required floor space for automation, and at times, furthering the risk of employee injury.

A jump in productivity and manufacturing efficiency

Fully automated OKUMA CNC machine with an acubez™ automation platform, including a UR10e cobot arm and acubez™ dual gripper (EOAT)

Greater overall productivity and profitability are direct results of the increased manufacturing safety brought by modular automation platforms; a benefit appreciated by owners and managers. 

In light of the recent financial losses throughout the industry, the potential impact that safe automation brings for manufacturers becomes evident. In 2018 alone, more than 115,500 manufacturing workers missed workdays due to injuries². Furthermore, in 2017, more than 104 million workdays were lost due to these injuries and fatalities – all of this in addition to the $95 billion that US companies alone paid in workers’ compensation insurance².

In addition to advancements in safety, collaborative automation has provided manufacturers with new opportunities for growth in productivity, efficiency, and profitability. Providing shorter ROI periods and lower ongoing costs (e.g. programming for new job fitting), scalable automation platforms allow manufacturers to quickly and easily set up and operate their solutions for repetitive tasks. Thus, relieving the need for excess manpower, and raising machine operating times to more than 95%. 

As ROI-based justifications for an investment in these cutting-edge technologies you may read more about the benefits of modular automation platforms; including affordability, scalability, and user-friendliness. 


About acubez™ modular automation platform

Acubez™ is an Industry 4.0 innovative manufacturing automation company providing a safe end-to-end solution for high-mix, low-volume manufacturing with its cutting-edge modular automation platform. With compact, flexible, and scalable solutions for increasing productivity, acubez™ enables manufacturers to automate machine tending today and scale up tomorrow. Download the acubez™ product catalog now, or request a quick quote and start automation your production processes today!



1 www.universal-robots.com
2 www.universal-robots.com

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