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Thermwood

Robotic Routing Cell Optimizes Quality and Increases Throughput 200%

05 April 2002

Jason International, Inc from North Little Rock, Arkansas, restored order from an endless list of detail work by integrating an industrial robot into their production team. The turnkey cell is a RoboTrim Routing System, designed and assembled by flexible robotic systems provider Robotic Production Technology (RPT).

Jason International has experienced significant gains in speed, quality, and overall productivity, including a 200% increase in throughput. Working with fiberglass to make whirlpool tubs is a detail-oriented process that had required numerous hand finishing operations. Reject rates due to human error were high. Jason’s diverse product line includes 50 tub configurations, necessitating a total of 160 individual trimming and finishing operations that had to be performed manually.

Jason and RPT determined that a robotic routing cell could streamline the tub trimming process. The main objectives of automating the process were to increase quality control and lower the reject rate, while achieving random processing via automated part recognition.

A FANUC M-710i robot was selected for the job. RPT solved the part fixture problems using a universal part holding fixture that Jason developed. RPT also created a bar coding system for recognizing the part configuration and determining setup protocols and the part program. Touch sensing routines detect part location variations and offset the base robot paths. To meet the highly diverse number of trim operations, a tool changer was integrated to accommodate drills, routers, and saws.

The result was a 200% increase in throughput, and a huge gain in part-to-part finishing accuracy and repeatability. DeWayne Coats, industrial engineer at Jason International, hired RPT based on reputation: “RPT has surpassed all our expectations with this robotic system because they took the initiative to make recommendations that would work for our unique application, rather than a cookie cutter solution,” Coats said. “The folks at RPT were helpful and professional, and they got us up and running quickly – within two weeks of installation they had the robot running flawlessly. This cell has made us stronger as a company.”

RPT RoboTrim Routing Systems can be tailored for in-line (flow-through) integration into manufacturing systems, or configured as individual cells, for applications in the automotive, marine, consumer product and other industries.






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