Recent figures suggest that automation in the UK is currently falling behind other leading manufacturing nations, which is having an impact on productivity. To illustrate the point: there are just 71 industrial robots per 10,000 workers in the UK, positioning it behind 14 other European countries. In contrast, Germany has 309 units, contributing to a production rate which is 30% higher per hour than that achieved in the UK.
Tom Bouchier, managing director of FANUC UK, says: “Many in UK manufacturing remain suspicious of automation, with a common misconception being that it equates to a high up-front cost. However, automation solutions are accessible to everyone – from family run subcontracting businesses, through to multinational organisations.
“Our inaugural open house will showcase a range of technologies, seeking to address misunderstanding within UK industry, and highlight how automation can drive significant and tangible productivity.”
One area of automation which will be demonstrated is collaborative robotics (cobots). With built-in sensors and vision systems, cobots are capable of working safely alongside human operators in a variety of different operations. Cobots are already deployed in a number of processes in the UK, across a range of industries. Three distinct models will be exhibited at the open house, including the CR-35iA, which is the only cobot in the world with a 35 kg payload.
FANUC’s production equipment series – the RoboDrill, RoboShot and RoboCut – will also be displayed, offering visitors the chance to see these machines in action.
The RoboDrill, which is described as a compact yet powerful 5-axis vertical machining centre, will be represented by the α-D21MiA with Mechatronic iTend machine-tending solution. This machine will sit alongside the α-D21LiB5 machining centre featuring DDR Tl-iB 4th axis unit.
To highlight how the automation of injection moulding can drive further productivity gains, FANUC will display its RoboShot α-S50iA machine as part of an automated ‘pick-and-place to conveyor’ application.
Finally, RoboCut wire EDM machine demonstrations will include an aerospace application for precision machining on the C-400 model. The C-600 and C-800 will also be showcased. In addition, FANUC’s software offering will be exhibited, including its RoboGuide suite, Zero Downtime (ZDT) technology, and the newly launched FIELD (FANUC Intelligent Edge Link & Drive) system.
A team of experts will be on hand to talk visitors through how these various technologies can improve factory productivity.
“It’s crucial that UK manufacturing maintains its position as a world leader, and the adoption of automated solutions is key to this,” says Bouchier. “By showcasing FANUC’s automation offer, and addressing any questions from visitors, we hope that our first ever open house will contribute to a wider acceptance of this technology across UK industry.”
To register for the open house event please click here.