PCB Loading and Unloading by JAKA Zu 12 Cobots
About the Company
One of the largest flexible printed circuit manufacturers, assemblers and suppliers across the globe. We strive to target our solutions within the electronics market and focus on applications where flexible printed circuits are the enabling technology in achieving a desired size, shape, weight or functionality of an electronic device.
In the production of flexible printed circuit (FPC) boards, know also as printed circuit board (PCB), manufacturer identified one task that could be optimized through automation.
It involved loading and unloading circuit boards to and from a sliding PLC machine for stripping, and then stacking stripped boards in layers with protective paper.
There were nine workers, working across 18 machines, who completed 450 pieces per day. Due to the repetitive and physically demanding nature of the task, production efficiency was low, workers’ safety was at risk, there were human errors, and there was an inconvenient rate of staff turnover.
To automate the FPC loading and unloading process, the company chose to purchase nine units of the JAKA Zu 12 cobot. Cobots were chosen over traditional industrial automation robots due to their short payback period, high precision and accuracy.
In the case of the Zu 12, they were also valued for how compact they are – it was easy for them to fit within the space of the existing equipment. With the help of professional cobot integrators, their deployment took only a few hours.
Each cobot now follows the following procedure: first, it takes a printed circuit board (PCB) from an unprocessed stack and places it onto the stripping machine’s loading platform, a PLC slider. While the PCB is being stripped, the cobot transfers a sheet of protective paper from the unprocessed stack and deposits it on top of the processed stack.
Once the PCB has been stripped, it loads it onto the protective paper, on the processed stack, and begins the process again. Each cobot is able to carry out this operation, with no errors, 24 hours a day.
The company management’s feedback was very positive. Thanks to the nine cobots, production efficiency immediately rose 15%.
They were able to free up human workers to focus on safer, more creative tasks, leading to a reduction in staff turnover. It was reported that the workers now feel more valuable, and less tired, as they no longer have to lift heavy objects eight hours per day.
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