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APT Manufacturing Solutions specializes in Robotic Packaging Systems, Robotic Welding Systems, and Industrial Education Solutions. Contact us at [email protected].

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CNC Machine Tending with FANUC ROBODRILL

POSTED 03/22/2021

Project Summary

APT Manufacturing Solutions implemented a machine tender (robot load/unload) on their FANUC Robodrill to run a production machining part.  APT is a FANUC robot integrator and used this knowledge to solve to a need in the machining division. Like other manufacturers, APT has had to overcome workforce shortages and this was one opportunity to tackle this problem.

There were a number of challenges to overcome on the project, but in the end, the machine runs 33% more efficient with a robot than with a human operator, making this a worthwhile investment for APT.

Project Challenges

One of the major challenges in this project was deburring the part. This part has many edges and some on the underside, and the operator was deburring the part during the CNC cycle. APT had the option to add a deburr wheel to the machine tender and let the robot deburr but was trying to minimize investment and maximize ROI. After creative programming on the CNC machine, deburring is now handled complete on the FANUC Robodrill.

Another challenge was working with the staff to understand that the robot was not going to take their job, but was going to help them be more efficient and keep machines running.

Lastly, once the robot was tested and reliable, workers stopped paying attention to it and would forget to load product. The addition of a horn solved this problem and allowed throughput to accelerate.

Project Results

In the end, the CNC cycle time increased by 20 seconds when adding the robot because a human can actually load and unload the machine faster than the robot. However, the robot consistency allowed for the effective cycle time to decrease by 1 minute 30 seconds over an 8 hour shift.

The number of parts produced in an 8 hour shift increased from 100 to over 150 with the addition of the robot machine tender.  

Project Investment and Anticipated Return

Was it worth the investment? See for yourself!

Project investment: $87,000
Shop Rate (per minute): $1.16
Minutes saved per part: 1.5
Dollars saved per part: $1.74
Parts per week (2 shifts, 5 days): 1500
Dollars saved per week: $2610
Return on Investment: 33 weeks