To answer some of the most common questions regarding automation in UK manufacturing, FANUC hosted its second Manufacturing, Automation, and Digital Transformation Open House. Taking place at its state-of-the-art UK headquarters between the 01st and the 05th of November 2021, the event was open to the UK industry to understand how automation improves productivity across manufacturing.
At the Open House, FANUC displayed a number of demonstrations and hosted different industry debates for manufacturers to attend. One of these was our IoT Edge in a Box system demo. Have you ever thought of getting all of your machinery and field devices data in a single place? Don’t you want to try to also plug them onto an IIoT service to access advanced analytics and management apps? With our IoT Edge in a Box solution, you can secure all your machinery and field device data in one place.
With this system and the apps, you can target improvements in productivity, quality and efficiency. Also, through our Industrial Networking Services, we can help you to securely and efficiently connect entire production lines to the FIELD System, stream data in real-time, and collaborate in improving plant performance.
FIELD system allows users to connect any production machine or device, regardless of brand or generation - in a single, unified and powerful system. It grants manufacturers secure Edge access to their production data, and Cloud access to hundreds of third-party apps, tailored to every management need.
Recent figures suggest that UK automation is falling behind other leading manufacturing countries, impacting the industry's ability to keep pace in terms of productivity. To illustrate the point: there are just 71 industrial robots per 10,000 workers in the UK, positioning it behind 14 other European countries. In contrast, Germany has 309 units, contributing to a production rate that is 30% higher per hour than the UK's.
Tom Bouchier comments: “Many in UK manufacturing remain suspicious of automation, with a common misconception being that it equates to a high up-front cost. However, automation solutions are accessible to everyone – from family-run subcontracting businesses to multi-national organisations. FANUC’s inaugural Open House showcase a range of technologies, seeking to address this misunderstanding within the UK industry, and highlight how turning to automation can drive significant and tangible productivity.”
One area of automation which was demonstrated at the event was collaborative robotics (cobots). With built-in sensors and vision systems, cobots are capable of working alongside human operators in a variety of different operations.
Check out in the video below some of the most impressive robots and industrial apps that we found at FANUC's Open House 2021.
Cobots are already in use in a number of processes in the UK, across a range of industries. Three distinct models were exhibited at the Open House, including the CR-35iA, which is the only cobot in the world with a 35kg payload.
FANUC’s production equipment series: the ROBODRILL, ROBOSHOT, and ROBOCUT, were also displayed, offering visitors the chance to see these state-of-the-art machines in action. The ROBODRILL – a compact yet powerful 5-axis drilling machine – was represented by the α-D21MiA with Mechatronic iTend machine-tending solution, alongside the α-D21LiB5 complete with DDR Tl-iB additional axis control.
To highlight how automating injection moulding can drive further productivity gains, FANUC displayed α-S50iA injection moulding ROBOSHOT as part of a Hi-Tech Automation pick-and-place-to-conveyor application. The ROBOCUT wire-cutting machine exhibits will be an aerospace application for precision machining on the C-400iB. The C -600iB and C -800iB will also be showcased.
FANUC’s & Partners' software offering was also exhibited, including the ROBOGUIDE software, Zero Downtime (ZDT) technology, and the newly launched (in the UK) FIELD (FANUC Intelligent Edge Link & Drive) system, which is being implemented by Polestar Industrial IT.
There was also a team of experts on hand that talk visitors through how these various pieces of technology can improve factory productivity, highlighting how the manufacturing process can be optimised.
Open House Event Agenda
Monday and Friday provided guests with open opportunities to explore the facility and engage with those exhibiting. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday featured a series of themed talks, panel discussions and interviews tackling UK manufacturing’s most pressing challenges, with some of the leading lights in British Industry:
Watch below Polestar's Panel Discussion on Automation and Connectivity, and our Presentation on Industrial IT, Industrial IoT and how they drive efficiency gains in manufacturing.
Panel Discussion VIDEO