Universal Robots (UR), Denmark-based collaborative robots (cobots) technology leader, today advised industries in Malaysia to accelerate adoption of “Sustainable Manufacturing” with lightweight collaborative robots (cobots) that help minimise product defects and wastage through higher efficiency and precision.
It said in a statement that this significant move could potentially help Malaysia achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to lower waste generation and increase efficiency in the use of natural resources by 2030.
According to MIDF Research, Malaysia’s Industrial Production Index (IPI) grew at its fastest pace in three months at 5.1% year-on-year (y-o-y), particularly for the manufacturing sector.
“Sustainable Manufacturing” is defined as the manufacturing of products using processes that minimise negative environmental impacts through innovative solutions. In the manufacturing process, turnaround time needs to be fast, and defects and raw material wastage minimised to meet production targets consistently. Manufacturing defects and discarded raw materials are not only costly to companies, but they have become waste which impacts the environment.
“Sustainability ranks high on the global and political agenda as countries set out energy and emission targets as part of climate change-related commitments. One of the most effective ways to reduce both cost and waste is to improve the quality of manufacturing processes through cobots,” said James McKew, Regional President APAC, Universal Robots.
“Cobots are built for repetitive high-precision tasks. This reduces wastage in Malaysian industries such as welding, dispensing and material removal, and minimises the number of defective products. Production output becomes more predictable as takt time (cycle time for a specific process) is stabilised, which allows for more efficient and optimised logistics arrangements.”
Hyundae Induction Hardening Heat Treatment (HIHHT), a Korean company which provides induction hardening heat treatment process, deployed two Universal Robots’ UR10 cobots in their process. These cobots place an untreated component into the treatment machine and then remove the treated component to a conveyer belt. As a result, HIHHT’s product failure rate decreased from 0.03% to 0.01% and production efficiency increased by 31%.
Environmentally Friendly Footprints
Manufacturing automation requires robots in the process. Traditionally, this requires significant amount of space allocated in the production facility for the robot and cages for safeguarding. With its smaller footprint, UR’s lightweight cobots can work alongside humans safely and move between applications without costly facility redesigns.
Cobots also consume less energy compared to traditional robot counterparts. Manufacturers in Malaysia can minimise energy consumption in their cobot-powered applications by running at 70-80% of its maximum speed and payload.
Reducing Emissions From Transportation
Minimising the distances involved in supply chains reduces transportation costs. More companies are re-examining their production processes, supply chain and business models to be more self-reliant, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly. UR cobots empower these efforts by allowing manufacturers to compete with lower-wage countries, keeping production close to home.
With digitalisation of the manufacturing processes, remote access tools are introduced to further assist manufacturers in achieving sustainability. Universal Robots’ UR+ ecosystem offers a wide range of remote monitoring and access solutions to track and monitor cobots without having to be onsite. These tools enable manufacturers to program cobots remotely, reducing traveling costs and optimising energy consumption.
“The demand for sustainable manufacturing will continue to rise as consumers begin making decisions based on sustainability. Cobots’ ability to mitigate errors, reduce waste and increase efficiency can play a critical role in reducing carbon footprints. Moving forward, Malaysian Industries stand to improve quality and lower manufacturing wastes with collaborative automation and help achieve its Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” concluded McKew.