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Robot night shift gives ALM a competitive edge

Robot night shift gives ALM a competitive edge A thriving North East manufacturer of quality washroom cubicle hardware has been able to competitively diversify into subcontract engineering with the help of robotic automation. ALM Products, based in Newton Aycliffe, has installed a FANUC Robotics robot for loading and unloading components to a machine tool.

ALM's cubicle products are used throughout the UK in schools, leisure facilities, offices, hotels and hospitals and it has earned a reputation for quality and flexibility of design. Using its own in-house resources and capabilities allows ALM to provide an efficient subcontract engineering service. Continuous investment in CNC machine tools has seen consistent demand for ALM products and growth in the business resulting in the need for night shift operations.

ALM's Andy Hey explains: "Finding 'die hard' night shift operators isn't so easy these days and many tasks required fairly straight forward loading and unloading of components into CNC machines. Using a robot seemed the best option."

A system was supplied by FANUC Robotics comprising a 10kg payload FANUC M10-iA robot complete with grippers, guarding and a work input table.  A highly compact arm, the M10-iA minimises the amount of space required while allowing several functions, including in process inspection, to be carried out in the same work area. Hey comments: "The robot has given us the advantage of saying to a customer that we can turn round say 400 off components for a next day delivery without the cost of a night shift - this makes us very competitive."
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