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ROBOTICS & AUTOMATION Continued from P100


its own pros and cons for manufactur- ing processes, as well as software and programming language.


EVCO has used a variety of robots in the past, but today its factories primarily use automation and robots from ABB (Zurich, Switzerland), Epson Robots (Tokyo, Japan); and HAHN Automation Components (Reinheim, Germany), which recently merged with WEMO Automation (Värnamo, Sweden). “They’re all a little different,” De-


genhardt said of the different brands of robots. “Some are statement logic, some are more ladder logic. They all have their proprietary approach. That can be difficult. We don’t have just one guy [dedicated to each brand].” That means that Degenhardt’s team of 12 automation experts has to be extremely knowledgeable at program- ming, electronics, the mechanics of robots and problem solving. “It’s a strange bag. You have to learn how to design, program, wire, troubleshoot,” he said. It’s also a challenge, he explained, finding skilled workers to maintain the robots. “Our facilities are pretty clean, and we take really good care of our robots,” he said. “Every 7–8 years, we turn them over and do upgrades. When we get a new press, we usually get a new robot.”


One of the main advantages of


robots in Degenhardt’s mind is their consistency, quickness and flexibility. “We’re really busy. The robots are working 24-7,” he said, noting the company is trying to double sales and plant capacity is running about 80%. Getting a job just right means manag- ing time as tightly as possible. “Tenths of seconds matter,” he explained, “they matter a lot.”


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Payment in advance on all listings. September 2015 | AdvancedManufacturing.org 153


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