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Many industrial manufacturing companies get a grinding robot to increase quality, efficiency, and safety while minimizing the risks of constant lack of grinding workers. However, getting a grinding robot up and running at your factory is a long-winding process. You must define the actual grinding task accurately, make a realistic business case, find and procure the optimal solution, implement it, then run the system on daily basis and more. This article explains a nine-step delivery project model to minimize your risks, costs, and grinding robot ramp-up time!
Manual grinding is heavy work, and a human cannot maintain a constant performance level for a long time. This results in low and inconsistent quality, slow production, and unpredictable process flow. Manual grinding generates harmful dust and debris, and occasional hazards and slippages can cause accidents and scrapped parts. It is hard to grow productivity when dependent on manual work and hiring new employees for grinding is difficult. That’s why industrial manufacturers and service providers now invest in grinding robots – they provide several significant benefits with a fast payback time.
Modern industrial manufacturing requires constant process development – continuous improvement being the key word – all resources in the company must contribute to increasing efficiency. Replacing manual grinding operations with a fully automatic surface grinding robot effectively increases process throughput in welding, propeller grinding, steel fabrication, and many other sectors. Robots will also secure the capacity for years to come.
Planning the grinding robot investment is critical because it can affect the ramp-up time, risks, and investment and operational costs.
In planning, you must collect all the required information for a grinding robot investment. It involves outlining an optimal solution, benchmarking vendors, estimating the investment and operational costs, and comparing them to the benefits. All this is needed for creating a positive Return on Investment (ROI) to convince the management. You can do this by calculating ROI to determine the grinding robot investment feasibility. A realistic plan saves costs and reduces implementation time down the line. Contact the leading grinding specialist for help in defining the optimal solution and a realistic investment plan.
Grinding robot procurement starts from an investment go-ahead decision. You should prepare and issue a Request for Information (RfI) or Quotation (RFQ) to clearly specify the robotic system, tools, software, process, and scope of work (SoW). Proof of Concept (PoC) trials help you vet your requirements and various solutions and vendors. The procurement phase can typically take a few months, during which time everything is agreed, and the contract is signed. Upon receiving the purchase order (PO) and first payment instalment, the process can advance to the next stage – delivery project.
The grinding robot delivery begins upon the receipt of the purchase order and initial payment. This nine-step best-practice delivery project model explains how Flexmill ensures a timely commercial launch of a grinding robot while keeping the budget within the agreed limits.
The first step in the grinding robot delivery process is creating a project plan, drawing layouts, compiling a bill of materials (BoM), and preparing the final system design. The detailed design is frozen upon a mutual agreement.
The required components are ordered and manufactured according to the bill of material.
The physical robot station is built up and made operational at Flexmill site. The modular structure speeds up the assembly phase. System is put together from varius sub-assemblies which include the essential mechanical parts and electrical systems and tool kits.
Unlike many other grinding tool sales companies or robot vendors, Flexmill implements and optimizes the grinding process for customer’s selected workpieces as specified in the RFQ. This includes programming the robot’s work cycles, selecting and finetuning the parameters, and choosing the best possible tools and abrasives. The operator training can be started simultaneously.
The factory acceptance test (FAT) verifies that the system and all the functionalities work as agreed. During FAT, the customer can follow a test production run at Flexmill’s premises. Upon customer’s acceptance, the FAT is deemed approved, and a payment is issued. The delivery time from PO to FAT is typically 3-12 months.
The grinding robot system is packed and transported to the customer’s site. The system is installed, commissioned, and integrated into the customer’s material flow and taken into operation. The operators training continues in the assembly.
Site Acceptance Test (SAT), preferably operated by customer staff, verifies that the system functions as agreed. The delivery time from FAT to SAT is typically one or two months. The last payment is typically issued upon the customer’s acceptance of SAT.
The grinding robot system is now in commercial production and entirely operated by the customer. Flexmill assists in production ramp-up. A standard warranty applies typically for 12 months.
Flexmill’s maintenance and support agreement can cover the robot’s entire lifecycle of up to 15 years. This is the actual time which the customer uses to earn money – why not utilize the full potential of the initial investment? It includes annual health checks to identify immediate and preventive maintenance needs. The contract includes spare and wear part support and process and equipment upgrades. Training for new operators and processes is available on a need’s basis. The new product implementation (NPI) service provides customers with process development, robot programming, fixture design, and other value-added services.
A grinding robot is an expensive investment, yet it gives you high-efficiency production capacity for up to 15 years. However, a successful investment needs more than choosing the most advanced grinding robot. You must also design an optimal process, select the best tools, have a field-proven delivery process in place, and secure a reliable, long-term maintenance partner – like Flexmill!
Contact us and learn more about robotic grinding!