Michael Gurney, CEOImagine investing in expensive automation equipment that is assured to make production faster and easier, only to find that because those technologies had become outdated, they were actually costing you nearly 100,000 pounds of lost material every year. Concept Systems, an Oregon based manufacturing automation company, worked with one of world’s largest coffee companies to address product loss and worker safety issues by retrofitting their outdated robotic system. The client’s robot, responsible for unloading pallets of burlap bags full of raw coffee beans and placing them one-by-one on a conveyor leading to the roaster, kept ripping bags and spewing beans. Over a period of six months and nearly 20 days on site, the Concept Systems engineers designed a control system that integrated an advanced 3D laser vision system to model the precise position and orientation of each tier of bags on the pallet. The modeled image transmitted to the robot allowed it to move quickly and efficiently from bag to bag, without tearing bags or spilling beans. The client’s robot now handles six bags per minute, twice as quickly and successfully, reducing wastage and increasing green bean infeed rate by 100 percent.
“For manufacturers, it’s all about increasing efficiency and yield, waste reduction, accelerating time to production, and plant safety. Selecting the right technology to meet the business challenge is the key for manufacturers,” says Michael Gurney, CEO of Concept Systems, Inc.
Concept Systems provides automation solutions to solve manufacturing problems in a variety of industries. The company’s engineers always work closely with the client's in-house staff to spot risk and understand the business vision and technical details of their manufacturing processes. “We can develop a custom robotic workcell to solve complex manufacturing challenges,” states Gurney.
“We stay current with a broad range of robotics, sensing, safety, and control technologies.” This enables Concept Systems to choose the most suitable technology to solve a manufacturer’s problems.
Selecting the right technology to meet the business challenge is the key for manufacturers
Workcells are designed to be flexible and adaptive in order to interact safely and effectively with employees, which reduces risk and increases production.
With the acceleration of emerging technologies, it’s hard for most companies to keep up with the new developments in robotics and sensing technology. “We have a thorough understanding of the latest advancements in sensing technologies, adaptive software, best-in-the-class robots, and smart safety technologies,” states Gurney. Concept Systems invests heavily in training to ensure engineers stay apprised of a wide range of technologies offered by multiple companies. They guide clients to the technologies that are best suited for their situation, integrating multiple systems and a variety of existing equipment. The company’s material tagging product—BilletID, for instance, integrates a 3D laser scanner, a six-axis robot, an SQL database, and other components.
BilletID is designed to operate its designated tasks without the need for human supervision, welding a tag to each billet of steel and verifying that it was done correctly. Briefly, it is a robotic tagging system which keeps track of billets in the manufacturing process. The automated system welds an identification tag containing manufacturing data in human-readable and barcode form to each billet conveyed from the caster.
According to the CEO, the kind of expertise exhibited through the company’s offerings is by no means an accident, but by design. The company also supports programs that encourage students to get involved in robotics, engineering, and automation sciences. “We believe in ensuring that our society is well served by keeping a steady flow of engineers coming from our universities,” concludes Gurney.