Sycamore Aves Robotic Team Visits KC Robotics

We are Aves Ablaze!

KC Robotics was ablaze with Sycamore High School students on October 9th when the Sycamore Aves Robotics Team visited our facility to see robotics systems in progress and learn more about the industry and job opportunities. After an interactive tour, the team demonstrated their new robot developed for the First Tech Challenge. KC Robotics’ engineers and technicians offered solutions to some of the issues the team experienced with their first prototype.
As the students left, Jack Justice, General Manager of KC Robotics, said, “It’s always fun to have the Sycamore team visit. Every year, I’m impressed by their knowledge of robotics and intelligent questions.” The Sycamore Aves Robotics Team was founded in 2016. They are a student lead club that designs, builds, and programs their robot for team competitions. For donations or more information, visit http://sycamorerobotics.weebly.com/aves-ablaze.html
KC Robotics supports student groups such as the Sycamore Robotics team to encourage young people to pursue interests in engineering, science and robotics. https://www.kcrobotics.com

Sycamore Aves Robotics Team

Solving the Skilled Worker Shortage

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • For the first time in modern history there are more job openings than there are eligible workers to fill them
  • Skilled labor shortages are critical
  • Education and Automation are the best solutions for manufacturers and industry
  • Higher wages and image must be addressed

 

Manufacturers worldwide are having a difficult time finding and retaining skilled workers. According to the latest Gallup Manpower “Talent Shortage Survey” 44% of employers across the globe report they cannot find the skills they need.

In the United States, the BLS reported that in April 2018 there were 6.7 million job openings and in May 2018 there were just over 6 million people the BLS classified as unemployed. The shortage is reaching a critical point. If the trend continues, job openings will eclipse the labor pool for the first time. This trend will only get worse as the “baby boomers” continue to retire at a pace faster than subsequent generations can fill them. Based on a study by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, Forbes reported in 2017 that 22% of skilled manufacturing workers, or 2.7 million employees, are retiring over the next decade.

Education and Automation will be the best solutions for manufacturers and industry. The solution for most manufacturers will be education and automation. A good public relations plan and higher wages would also be helpful.

Education: Although many school districts and technical colleges throughout the country offer good programs in manufacturing, welding and robotics, they are not equipped to train the number of skilled workers needed. To overcome this obstacle, some companies have begun in-house training for their own unskilled workers to develop them into higher skilled employees. Others offer apprenticeships and technical college education for new hires.

Automation: Increased automation and robotics in manufacturing solves several problems: It decreases the number of skilled and unskilled workers needed, and it creates safer, cleaner and more efficient manufacturing environments.

Wages: With the economy growing and the number of workers decreasing, higher wages are inevitable (and a reality for many companies already).

Image: The image of dirty and non-progressive manufacturing work place hurts recruitment of qualified skilled labor. Manufacturing has become much more technical, many factories are clean and high-tech, and jobs are more interesting than in the past. The manufacturing environment is increasingly automated. The workforce of the future will need to be better trained and educated than past generations.

Facing the skilled worker shortage means creative problem solving and embracing and implementing the solutions discussed above. The key to our continued success will be a combination of automation of our manufacturing processes and educating our workforce to utilize the technology to its fullest. The companies that can accomplish this will be the winners in the next industrial revolution.

 

Sources

https://cerasis.com/2016/01/28/image-of-manufacturing/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/economy/2018/07/05/us-wage-growth-in-june-was-2018s-strongest-so-far/36579285/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maryjosephs/2017/03/15/u-s-manufacturing-labor-shortage-how-to-make-your-company-a-happy-exception/#4642ee3d7e13

https://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/236180/new-solution-skilled-workers-shortage.aspx

My Daddy’s Robots Are Orange!

Last Friday, I received an email from KUKA – celebrating 120 years of providing innovative ideas and solutions for manufacturing processes. The feature picture (see below) says, “Thinking Orange”. It reminded me of a story I heard from Jerry Schrott, Applications Engineer at KC Robotics.

Mallory & Jerry Schrott

When five-year-old Mallory Schrott colored a robot picture at her preschool class, her classmates told her she colored it the wrong color. Mallory, whose father is an Applications Engineer and Project Manager at KC Robotics, colored her robot ORANGE. The other preschoolers colored their robots grey and black. Mallory quickly retorted to her classmates, “My daddy’s robots are orange!” And indeed they are! Many of the robots that Jerry Schrott programs and integrates for KC Robotics’ customers are KUKA Orange. Mallory has visited our office many times and take great interest in the robots. And she knows her colors!

KC Robotics is proud to be a KUKA System Partner. Our experience integrating and installing KUKA robots spans various industries and applications, including Plastic cutting, Palletizing, welding, and specialized applications for defense research.

For more information about KC Robotics’ integration services, call or email us. (513) 860-4442 or contact@kcrobotics.com

KUKA Robotics

JDRF One Walk at Kings Island – Team KC Robotics Walks the Walk

 

Last Saturday, KC Robotics’ employees walked to help find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes at the JDRF ONE WALK at Kings Island. It was an amazing experience filled with activities, entertainment and the celebration of coming together to change the future for everyone living with this disease.

Members of Team KC Robotics muster before the start of the walk

It was a fun morning. M. Dooros is already planning to walk in 2019. The JDRF volunteers were so appreciative! What a great event!

Miniature horses are used for therapy to help Juvenile Diabetes patients.

As the leading global organization funding T1D research, JDRF’s mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.

Aluminum Arc Welding

Aluminum Arc Welding Case Study

Project Challenges

  • Provide a flexible robotic welding system to automate welding of new designs of fence posts and gates.
  • Provide a complete turnkey robotic welding system that is able to accommodate xx variations of parts with minimal tooling change over.
  • Large awkward parts consist of .250” aluminum welded to .060” aluminum tube and .020” wall tube welded to .125” aluminum extrusions.
  • Each gate requires up to 28 individual welds.
  • Improve productivity and shorten lead time
  • Reduce dependency on offshore suppliers
  • Make aesthetically pleasing welds on the outside of the fence post and foot that do not need to be ground down prior to painting.
  • Outside surface condition and visual condition from the weld joint on the inside mounting plate is critical.

KC Robotics Solution

KC Robotics provided a pre-engineered welding system, KCR Systems 300 cell including:

  • KUKA KR16 L6 Robot, an extended reach robot with controller and base riser
  • (2) 500kg headstock / tailstock positioners
  • Fronius TPS GMAW digital welding power supply, integrated welding package with 500A
  • bulk wire feeding system
  • Automatic wire cutter and torch reamer
  • (2) operator station (one per welding station). Functions: Cycle Start, Emergency Stop, Hold, Alarm Reset
  • System Safety Package, including Safety fencing, light curtains, safety interlocked access gates. Meets ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012 standard.

Fixtures / Tooling Details

KC robotics provided manually operated welding fixtures for the fence post welding operation that is able to accommodate 5 posts per cycle.

KC Robotics provided a welding fixture that combined both manual and automatic clamping for the gates. The fixture was designed and built for a quick changeover to 3 different styles and 4 sizes within those styles.

Project Results

  • The robot system meets or exceeds all the project goals. It allows the customer to build the parts needed for the product launch in house in one shift and have the additional capacity for future growth.
  • The system requires 1 operator vs 4-6 skilled welders.
  • Flexible system accommodates several models and allows large and small batch runs with easy changeover.

KC ROBOTICS INTRODUCES ULTRASONIC TRIMMING

KC Robotics introduces Ultrasonic Trimming with advanced robotic cutting and trimming technology.  KC Robotics’ Ultrasonic Trimming Cells will include a high-speed Yaskawa Motoman robot, fully integrated with NSK’s ultrasonic cutting tool and milling head.

NSK Unique Technology

  • Cutting tool features a HSS carbide blade vibrating at 40 kHz
  • 7th axis tool
  • control ball
  • navigation tool
  • specialty blade profiles
  • long ultrasonic blades
  • blade sharpening station
  • Compliance blace shape

Ultrasonic Robotic Trimming & Cutting Applications

Ultrasonic cutting offers a unique, environmentally-friendly replacement of waterjet and laser cutting for non-metallic materials, including plastics, foam, carpet, rubber, fiberglass and non-woven fabrics. The technology is ideal for low pressure mold processing, instrument panels and post-process molded part trimming.

Benefits of Ultrasonic Trimming 

  • Enhanced precision – improved trim quality
  • High Speed cutting
  • Cutting forces reduced by about 75%
  • Productivity of cutting process improvement
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Small footprint
  • Lean operation
  • Energy efficient
  • Clean and Eco-Friendly

AUTOMATE 2017

KC Robotics will introduce the Ready-Trim Eco Cell at AUTOMATE 2017 in Chicago, April 3-6. The booth will feature both traditional routing and ultrasonic cutting & trimming. In one cell, a Yaskawa Motoman MH50 II – DX200 Robot and Controller will demonstrate traditional routing on ATV parts. In a separate cell, a Yaskawa Motoman MH24 – DX200 Robot and Controller utilizing NSK technology will provide live ultrsonic cutting and trimming on an assortment of materials.