Food Engineering

Putting a robot to work

December 3, 2009
Source: Fanuc Robotics.

The new robot saves time, improves accuracy for Eriez

Due to an increasing workload, Eriez purchased a sophisticated robotic welder designed to improve efficiency, maintain accuracy and more quickly and economically meet increasing production volumes. The robot was developed through a partnership with Lincoln Electric and Fanuc Robotics. The new robot adds to the workforce, but doesn’t diminish Eriez’s number of employees, says Tim Shuttleworth, president and CEO.

To help determine if the technology was right, Eriez's engineering team obtained a robotic welder test unit with the support of a local Erie, PA, vendor to evaluate it. The company used it to help with a very large vibratory feeder order.

“A component in the feeder drive lends itself to be done automatically,” explains John Miles, director of operations. The unit quickly proved its value. “It can complete 14 in one hour, whereas only four of the same components can be completed manually in that same time,” he said.

After analyzing the unit for three weeks, the engineering team determined that an even larger and more advanced unit would be best for the manufacturer’s needs. Further testing on the vibratory feeder trays at the robot vendor proved that the unit Eriez planned to purchase would be capable of completing 90 percent of the company’s vibratory trays.

Robotic welders offer a variety of advantages. Welds are more consistent and meticulous when performed by robots. Productivity and speed are improved, and cost savings can be significant.