Arrowsmith Engineering of Coventry is capitalising on 20% growth over the past 12 months by investing over £200,000 in a Doosan four-axis machining centre and robotic cell. It is hope the move will boost production speed and increase capacity by 50%.
The company is using lights-out manufacturing to run a precision aero-engine part 24 hours a day, seven days a week, supplying more than 200 components every month to customers based in Spain and the US. Integrating robots into the process has removed the need for a second machining centre.
Managing director Jason Aldridge says: “I’m a big fan of automation and don’t’ sign up to the notion that it’s taking jobs; if anything it will make us more competitive so we can take on additional people. The Doosan CNC machining centre and collaborative robot system is our first investment in robotics, and has been configured to suit our specific requirements for 24-hour manufacturing on a complex component for the aerospace sector. It has removed the need for an operator to load and unload the parts, and this person has gone on to a different production process that is more skilled. This is just the start of what we are sure will be a continuous investment drive in robots.
“It’s made us 15% quicker and given us a 50% capacity boost; that’s some payback already,” he continues. “Automation shouldn’t be seen as something that only the big boys do; SMEs can access it cost-effectively and we need to ‘grasp the nettle’ in order to bring the UK’s productivity in line with our international competitors.”
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