The Rodon Group has been investing in robotics since the beginning of the century. Due to these technological advances, Rodon is able to make machine operators efficient enough to run 15 machines each, through automated delivery of the parts by use of robotics. Every machine has a robot on it, either a robotic picker or a full-blown servo-robot. Every machine counts the parts as they are made and when the box is full, an automated conveyor indexes the box out of the way and installs an empty box in its place. This occurs across all 117 machines without human intervention.
Q: Can you tell us about the types of robots on the machines and what their capabilities are?
Rodon has three types of robots at this time, including (3) axis robots, (5) axis robots and (7) axis robots. The robots are capable of many tasks, from something as simple as retrieving parts from the mold and delivering them above a box and releasing them to having movement capability very close to that of a human arm/hand placing them inside a box and stacking them.
Q: What makes our robots utilization unique compared to other companies?
We have a team of folks from departments throughout the company that work closely and have an open mind to new ideas. They don't cringe at the amount of work, time and money it takes to bring a robot project together. For example, sales may have a specific request based on a client's project. Our staff reviews the options and bases a purchase decision on the features and flexibility of each robot The vendor technicians, toolmakers and maintenance employees work together with sales and scheduling after the press and the robot have been selected. Then the box size, work station and end of arm tool come together, often with (like the coffee filter jobs) input from all. Even with so many involved people, it has been very successful and that is unique.
Q: Can you explain any ways the robots we use can help us expand?
We use robots for a few simple tasks. (1) To deliver parts clean, un-touched from the mold into the box; that's medical/Pharmaceutical work, (2) To deliver and stack parts in a container or bag; that's packaging, more packaging= expansion. (3) To run with minimal human interaction; Robots were created for "cheap labor". Every robot we get is not only safer for employees, but it frees them up for other duties, and allows for expansion with minimal increase to labor cost. Also, all of our robots were designed by Rodon and Star Automation with expansion in mind. Extra long beams for in-mold labeling and vision systems are also designed with down stream automation (various styles of packing) in mind.