Manufacturer simplifies complexity with collaborative robot

Custom molder uses adaptable robot to increase workforce productivity and serve customers.

By ·

Donnelly Custom Manufacturing is a leader in short-run injection molding of thermoplastics for industrial OEMs. To quickly switch between tasks and handle different objects, the company sought a cost-effective automated solution. A new collaborative robot can shift to a new task in a matter of minutes as the production line changes.

At its facility in Alexandria, Minn., Donnelly has deployed two robots (Rethink Robotics) on the manufacturing floor to perform duties that are often time-consuming and repetitive, but must be performed without error. The facility is equipped to handle more than 13,000 mold changeovers per year, including multiple changes per day. The robots are integrated to perform tasks such as removing parts from a conveyor belt and stacking each part on customized stacking devices, as well as counting and packing finished products for shipment to customers.

“In short-run molding, we thought using automation to keep up with demand would be expensive and laborious, as our production lines and product mix shifts quickly every day,” says Ron Kirscht, president at Donnelly. “The robots are able to switch tasks easily and adapt to this variable factory environment, allowing us to remain competitive on global pricing while delivering custom products on time to our customers. This also frees our employees to think more creatively and gives them the chance to work on more complex tasks and problem solving.”


About the Author

Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
The Power of the Put Wall – Seamless Omnichannel Fulfillment
The next generation of put wall technology will enable customizable configurations to address the challenges of SKU proliferation and changing product and order profiles.
Download Today!
From the November 2018 Modern Materials Handling Issue
Disruption comes in many forms—a new app that hobbles the taxi business, historic weather events that put life on hold, millions of personal files hacked—and seems to be surfacing more often than ever.
Gap Inc.: Taking the touches out of fulfillment
Resilience and Innovation at Gap Inc.
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Your 2019 Mobility Strategy: Creating a Plan for Device Security, Automation, OS Migration, and More
If you haven’t already started creating a mobile strategy for 2019, join us to get started. If you have a mobile strategy in place, we’ll be sharing our recommendations to make sure you’ve covered every aspect of devices, deployment, security, OS migration and more.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Resilience and Innovation at Gap Inc.
Just months before the start of the 2016 holiday season, one of Gap Inc.’s distribution centers...
System Report: Luxottica keeps it simple
Simplification and consolidation drove the design of a new 1.1-million-square-foot logistics campus...

Goya Foods’ secret ingredient: Lift trucks
The leader in Hispanic food and beverage products puts a variety of lift trucks and racks to work in...
Arvato SCM Solutions: Fashion Logistics
At its Hannover, Germany, facility, e-commerce logistics provider Arvato SCM Solutions is using...