Cobots, “hired” at Ford plant in Craiova, Romania

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4 cobots are operational within the automobile manufacturing factory.

Ford Romania carmaker has integrated several collaborative robots, the so-called cobots on its assembly line for the EcoBoost 11 engines produced at the Ford plant in Craiova. The cobots are produced by Universal Robots.

Our applications are based on the Universal Robots because that works within the applications we are looking for. We really like them for the small footprint, the ease of implementation and the fact that they can work alongside our people. We are at the start of our journey with collaborative robots and we started and put one in and that has been very successful and now we are looking at more and more and we are seeing the more we use them the more we learn about them and the more applications that we start to see from them. I certainly think that in the future we will be using more and more of them”, said Josephine Payne, Engine Plant Manager Ford Romania.

4 UR10 cobots are already working next to the employees in the Ford plant’s assembly line, taking over repetitive tasks, such as filling the engine with oil, checking the engine to prevent potential leakage or for tests and training.

One of the UR cobots performs the greasing of the camshaft followers, another fills the engine with oil, another checks the engine with a UV light and a camera for leakage after it has been filled with oil. The fourth UR10 unit at Ford is used for tests and training and will soon find an operational role within the plant. The cobots are integrated into the system that controls the assembly line, so that in this specific situation it doesn’t require an operator’s intervention unless when changes occur.

A team from the UK who analyzed globally which type of cobot suits better our needs in the engine plant and also in the vehicle plant. When we implemented the cobots we didn’t start with the idea to replace people, we started with the idea to help the operator to perform the job that required a repetitive movement or some challenges. So it was like a colleague for the operator, we don’t judge the cobot as a replacement for the operator. Comparing to the old technology the cobot and specifically the Universal Robots have the flexibility to work near the operator helping him, without any threats for the operator or jeopardizing his safe zone”, added Adrian Calangiu, Area Manager Engine Plant Ford România.

Although in the case of Ford Romania the cobots are deployed on a large assembly line, the Universal Robots collaborative robots are applicable to a wide range of activities, including small and medium-sized businesses. Cobots can be programmed very easily to be used independently from an automated system or directly by an operator or can be integrated into an automated line as it is the case with Ford Romania. Thanks to the ease of installation and operation, low energy consumption and the ability to work uninterruptedly, Universal Robots provide a quick payback period. At the same time, the robots can operate without any safety assistance.

Universal Robots is a global leader in the production of collaborative robots (cobots). Collaborative robots can be used to automate production or activities in any industry, even small and medium businesses that perceive automation as prohibitive and difficult to integrate. Some of the industries in which Universal Robots find their applicability are: food and agriculture, furniture and equipment, electronics and technology, automotive, plastic processing, pharmaceuticals and research. Universal Robots produces collaborative robotic arms with 6 axes of varying sizes and lucrative capabilities.

Recent studies show that a small business can be more competitive and grow much faster following the acquisition of collaborative robots, cobots.

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