Ib Andresen Industri can reveal yet another investment in the millions. This one involves two robots working together to stack sectional steel as it arrives in the section-rolling halls in Langeskov, and the investment is fully in keeping with the company’s strategic objectives.
“We have a strategic objective of using of automated solutions to increase productivity and improve employee job satisfaction by automating the repetitive, monotonous tasks. The investment is spot-on in both respects,” says production manager Morten Rasmussen, who explains:
“The two robots have taken over the physically difficult task of packing sectional steel. Now the operators’ primary job on the roll-forming line is to monitor production and make sure everything is running as it should.”
Synchronously and asynchronously
It was important to Ib Andresen Industri to have the robots programmed with a high degree of flexibility. “The lengths of the sectional steel vary greatly, which makes it important for the robots to be capable of coordinating their lifting of long sections synchronously and then move the short sections asynchronously,” explains Bo Larsen, Project Manager.
“While attending an automation training course, I got the idea for a robotic processing concept of having two robots on the same rail, where they both grab the long steel sections at either end and stack them in bundles. They have to be able to grasp and stack shorter sections separately. I presented the concept to the rest of the organisation, and its potential was obvious to everyone straight away,” Bo Larsen explains.
User-friendly programming software was developed for the robotic solution to enable operators to design their own robot programs. If any changes are made to the robots’ operating conditions, the operators can adjust the robots themselves and quickly resume production. This was part of the handling concept and a requirement we stipulated to the supplier.
In order for the project to succeed, we had to get line operators involved from the get-go.
“We gave them our input, which meant we have eliminated most of the initial bugs in the system. This resulted in a robotic solution tailored to our work routines, and it looked very promising already when it was being tested,” says Søren L. Sørensen, industrial line operator.
FH Automation supplied the robotic solution, and negotiations with them are currently being finalised for the next system. The cooperation has generally been good, as Leif Rasmussen, Sales Director, FH Automation, confirms, “We appreciate how rewarding it has been to cooperate with Ib Andresen Industri in developing the robot cell.”