Machine shops are vital in today’s manufacturing industries. Machine tools have been around since 1200 BC and have made it possible for our society to build what it builds and create what it creates, from the tallest building to the fastest car.
From lathe repair to various machining services, a shop’s success (like most businesses) depends on its ability to meet demands. When Swedish machine shop FT Produktion started receiving order requests from global industry leaders like Volvo, Renault, and Scania, they refused to limit the company’s growth by turning down new business. They knew they lacked the men to fill such orders, so they turned to machines instead.
“Thanks to automation, an operator can keep three or four machines running at once without stress,” said Joakim Karlberg, who owns and operates the family-owned FT Produktion with his sister. “We try to eliminate monotonous manual tasks by roboticising the high volume production runs, giving employees more time to work on smaller runs with greater variation in their tasks.”
Since the installation of the collaborative robots (cobot) cell, a batch of 150,000 can be manufactured in less than two months. The robots work up to 16 hours a day, five days a week, with incredible precision: FK Produktion estimates a savings of 500 hours when manufacturing 150,000 parts. It’s no wonder Karlberg wants to add at least two more cobots within the next few years.
“It seems like there’s no end to this economic upswing,” he said, “and therefore no end to our bottleneck issues. So we can already see many more opportunities for improved optimization and automation.”
FK Produktion is focused on making 650 different aluminum profiles for a number of companies and businesses, revealing how varied the machine shop industry is. Whether your shop focuses on material lift repair and construction or creates minuscule parts for the auto industry, this Swedish company has proved that incorporating machines into your machine shop can have a profound impact on your success. The next time you’re working on a material lift, consider how much easier (and faster!)your job would be if you had a robot to do your work for you.