Canadian Plastics

Automation (June 01, 2004)

Canadian Plastics   

Small companies turning to robotics...

Small companies turning to robotics

Robots and automation are often described as a tool to compete with the low labor costs of offshore producers. While this may be true, there are also other reasons to invest in robotics. According to Joe Portelli, Fanuc Robotics’ program manager for plastics, these are the top reasons that processors justify robots:

– labor reduction

– labor reallocation


– equipment utilization/uptime

– predictable production flow

– safety

– process/quality control

– production flexibility

Regarding machine utilization, Portelli says in his experience manually tended machines are actually producing parts about 65% of the available time, compared with 85% for automated machines.

Considering lost revenue per machine, Portelli calculates that a 10% cycle time improvement (perhaps from quicker part extraction) at a $50/hour machine rate can earn an extra $31,200 per year.

Who’s using robots? Small to medium-sized companies. Portelli says firms with fewer than 500 employees now have the highest robot adoption rate.

Fanuc Robotics Canada Ltd. 905-812-2300


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