The global site of the UK's leading magazine for automation, motion engineering and power transmission
22 April, 2018

Product and Supplier Search

Facebook

Collaborative robots join humans on a Ford line in Germany

15 July, 2016

Ford has become one of the first car-makers to start using collaborative robots (cobots) alongside human workers on an assembly line. It is using cobots supplied by Kuka to help fit shock absorbers to Fiesta cars at its plant in Cologne, Germany, thus ensuring a perfect fit and avoiding the need for workers to access hard-to-reach places. The task requires pinpoint accuracy, strength and dexterity.

The 1m-tall robots are working with line workers at two workstations, avoiding the need for them to manipulate the heavy shock absorbers and installation tools. The robots lift and position the shock absorbers automatically into the wheel arch, before a worker pushes a button to complete the installation.

To ensure worker safety, the cobot stops immediately if it detects an arm, or even a finger, in its path.

“Working overhead with heavy air-powered tools is a tough job that requires strength, stamina, and accuracy,” explains Ngali Bongongo, a production worker at the plant. “The robot is a real help.”

Ford employees in Germany are working with collaborative robots to help ensure that shock absorbers are fitted perfectly every time.

The cobot application, developed over two years in partnership with Kuka Robots, is a part of a Ford programme to develop a new, integrated approach to having car workers and robots working together on assembly lines.

“Robots are helping to make tasks easier, safer and quicker, complementing our employees with abilities that open up unlimited worlds of production and design for new Ford models,” says Karl Anton, Ford’s director of vehicle operations in Europe.

The trial forms part of Ford’s investigations into Industry 4.0. The company has asked more than 1,000 of its production line workers to identify tasks for which the new robots would best be suited. The company is now reviewing the further use of collaborative robots.




Magazine
  • To view a digital copy of the latest issue of Drives & Controls, click here.

    To visit the digital library of past issues, click here

    To subscribe to the magazine, click here

    To see the latest Products & Services Directory, click here

     

Exhibition

Birmingham 2018The next Drives & Controls Exhibition and Conference will take place in Birmingham, UK, from 10-12 April, 2018. For more information on the event, visit the Show Web site

Poll

"Do you think that robots create or destroy jobs?"

Newsletter
Newsletter

Events

Most Read Articles