JTK Power increases the flexibility of its machining workshop with cooperation robots

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JTK Power is improving its machining workshop by adding two cooperation robots made by Universal Robots. Known as Cobots, these robots will boost the efficiency of JTK Power’s valve line production and diversify it.

“Cobots will make it possible to manufacture both large series and small batches. Our intention is to gradually increase our level of automation, and the Cobots are the first step,” says Operations Director Tomi Korkeavaara.

The cooperation robots will be incorporated into two CNC machining stations. The Cobots will boost the manufacturing capacity of JTK Power’s valve line production, because they enable the unmanned use of CNC machines. The Cobots have three-finger grippers that allow them to handle any products without a tool change.

Cobots increase daily production time

Korkeavaara explains that JTK Power’s employees are already eagerly learning to use the Cobots. The staff will benefit from both online and face-to-face training, during which they are taught to operate the Cobots and set them up on various production lines. Employees will act as the supervisors of the Cobots, the initiators of work and quality inspectors. They will also make sure the operations function as they should.

Technical Sales Engineer Juho Liljamo from the robot supplier Oy Machine Tool Co describes the Cobots as assistants that help you work more efficiently, leaving you more time to focus on work that makes the products better – in short, people act as the team leaders of the robots.

“A Cobot ensures the product is efficiently advanced within the chain of production. After the Cobot has completed the first stage, it immediately moves the job along to the second phase. Products can also be made during lunch breaks, after working hours and even at night. This allows production time to be increased every day by a few minutes or hours here and there.

According to Liljamo, the work stages requiring the most meticulous attention to detail will still be performed by JTK Power's staff.

“JTK Power is known for its high quality and 100% delivery reliability. The robots will enhance these attributes by always producing identical products of uniform quality. With the help of cooperation robots, JTK Power’s machinists have more time to carry out tasks that add value, meaning that people will still be performing quality assurance and stages that require particular expertise.

The robots can be quickly adapted to new tasks

Cobots are easy to adapt, because they can be taught to machine new pieces or pieces of different sizes, often in just one day. Cobots can be placed on mobile platforms to make them easy to move from one workstation to another. If necessary, an employee can set up the cooperation robot every morning for exactly the job it is most needed for.

“If a new piece has to be launched on a tight schedule, or a series is exceptionally large, Cobots provide instant additional resources. The body of the robot is a standard component, which makes it suitable for many other jobs too besides machining. This makes production more flexible and enables the automation of other stages that put a strain on people.

Liljamo is extremely happy with the way the collaboration with JTK Power has gone. The objective is to transfer Machine Tool’s expertise in cooperation robots to JTK Power during the training and start-up.

“I’m happy that JTK Power’s employees are eager to learn to do things themselves because it will allow them to get as much as possible out of the robots. The way the training is organised will give JTK Power all the robot expertise they need in-house.  In future, they will be able to put robots into operation without any external help.”