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Robots for moulding & post-moulding processes

02 July 2021

LEADING UK manufacturer of components for office furniture and equipment, Suscom Industries, has recently expanded its fleet of Kawasaki robots as part of a successful reshoring programme.

Located in Wigan, Suscom’s recent addition of another Kawasaki RS20N robot takes the number of Kawasaki units in use at its plant to a total of eight. The company uses the brand exclusively. Seven of the units are Kawasaki’s RS20N with a single, larger, RS50N robot making up the total. Each robot works 24 hours a day, 5 days a week as Suscom deals with demand.

The robots are deployed during the moulding and post-moulding processes of many components and are engaged in a variety of tasks across the shop floor. One of these is removing completed seat bases from a moulding machine and positioning them onto an adjacent workstation, using vacuum grippers.

Another is removing the five-armed star shaped bases of office chairs from the moulding machine and holding them in place, almost upside down, with a three fingered gripper whilst a laser cutter profiles a section of the base to allow the fitting of the gas strut. In order to do this, the RS-20N robot must describe a perfect 100mm diameter circular motion as the (fixed) head of the laser cutter sets about creating the required profile.

Other tasks undertaken by the robots are varied and include upholstering the mesh onto freshly moulded chair backs and installing the five castors into position on the star shaped chair bases.

Suscom technical director, Matthew Kennedy, says: "Each of the many tasks we use robots for involves a combination of speed, agility and accurate, repeatable precision. In all the years we have operated our Kawasaki robots, we have never had a single problem, nor a moment of unscheduled stoppage time with them."

The company says that its decision to use Kawasaki robots exclusively is based on a proven track record of trouble-free service combined with ease of use by Suscom staff.

Ian Hensman, Kawasaki Robotics UK sales manager observes: “It is good to see Suscom’s success in a competitive market, and to be a part of it. The pandemic has underscored the value of the UK’s manufacturing base and reasserted its vital importance to all consumers. As the sole supplier of robots to Suscom we continue to work closely with them, matching robot technology precisely to their needs. The units at Suscom work a typical 120 hour week with no more than routine maintenance."