ABB YuMi cobots alleviate workforce shortages for aluminum supplier

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  • ABB’s YuMi® collaborative robots help SUS Corporation reshore production and address workforce shortages
  • The dual-armed cobots reduce assembly time, increase productivity by 20%, and increase flexibility
  • Automated solution developed using ABB’s RobotStudio® virtualisation software

ABB’s YuMi® cobots are enabling the reshoring of production and helping to address challenges presented by workforce shortages for SUS Corporation, a major supplier of aluminum frames and die-cast aluminum components for the automotive and other manufacturing industries.

“Reshoring is increasingly viewed as a way to address the challenges of disruptive supply chains and uncertainty, but it can introduce complexities of its own,” said Joerg Reger, Managing Director of ABB Robotics Automotive Business Line. “Our range of flexible automation solutions can help resolve these, and we’re delighted to see that SUS is benefiting from significant time-savings, enhanced production efficiency and the ability to quickly adapt to changing supply scenarios. This demonstrates how automation is no longer the preserve of large OEMs alone.”

In the wake of significant disruption to global supply chains in recent years, SUS Corporation chose to return to domestic production in Shizuoka, Japan to better manage its lead times and introduce greater flexibility. However, the manual and repetitive nature of the production process, coupled with mounting labor shortages, has made it difficult for the company to recruit and retain sufficient workers to achieve the required production volumes.

The solution – a series of YuMi dual-armed collaborative robots – has reduced the assembly time, increased productivity by 20 percent, and introduced much-needed flexibility in response to fluctuations in demand. The company expects to achieve payback on its investment within two years.

The automated solution was developed using ABB’s RobotStudio® simulation software to design and optimize the operation in a virtual space, ahead of deployment in the real world. The simulation verified that YuMi’s seven-axes of movement per arm were able to replicate the complex twisting actions needed during the assembly process. RobotStudio’s accurate calculations for achievable production volumes also made it easy for SUS to make informed decisions about their investment. The company is now investigating adding further cells for other products and automating other processes.

“The robots have taken on monotonous, repetitive jobs, enabling workers to be reassigned to more rewarding tasks such as operation management. The new system has also made it possible to operate at night with fewer workers, with the number of dedicated assembly machines in operation reduced from 11 to five,” said Akihiro Taki, Team Manager, Die-casting Team, at SUS Corporation’s Shizuoka site.

ABB’s recent Automotive Manufacturing Outlook Survey discovered that nearly a third (31%) of all respondents listed labor shortages among their top three challenges, while 35% ranked labor as their most concerning area when it came to rising costs.

More information on SUS Corporation’s successful use of automation is available here: https://new.abb.com/news/detail/109336/cstmr-abb-yumi-robots-help-leading-aluminum-profile-manufacturer-to-bring-production-home

For more information on ABB’s YuMi range, please visit: https://new.abb.com/products/robotics/robots/collaborative-robots/yumi/dual-arm

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) ABB is a technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company’s solutions connect engineering know-how and software to optimize how things are manufactured, moved, powered and operated. Building on more than 130 years of excellence, ABB’s ~105,000 employees are committed to driving innovations that accelerate industrial transformation.

ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation as one of the world’s leading robotics and machine automation suppliers, is the only company with a comprehensive and integrated portfolio covering robots, Autonomous Mobile Robots and machine automation solutions, designed and orchestrated by our value-creating software. We help companies of all sizes and sectors – from automotive to electronics and logistics – become more resilient, flexible and efficient. ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation supports customers in the transition towards the connected and collaborative factory of the future. The business area employs approximately 11,000 people at over 100 locations in approximately 53 countries. go.abb/robotics

Since 1992, SUS Corporation has been a leading aluminum profile manufacturer, fully embracing the potential of aluminum and expanding its possibilities by developing and providing aluminum products that support automation and labor saving in various industries ranging from automobiles, semiconductors, and food processing to logistics. In recent years, SUS has not only provided individual products, such as aluminum frames and components used in production equipment, but has also been helping customers solve their problems by providing solutions, including proprietary controllers that make it easy and inexpensive to electrify workplaces and convert to the IoT. SUS will continue to provide parts and materials using aluminum, a versatile and excellent material, and will also contribute to the provision of services and the promotion of regional industries by taking advantage of the various possibilities offered by aluminum materials. global.sus.co.jp

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