Loading and unloading CNC machines is becoming one of the most popular applications for collaborative robots as manufacturers face significant difficulties in staffing this tedious task. A new distributor agreement between Universal Robots (Ann Arbor, MI) and Phillips Corporation (Hanover, MD) will further the rapid deployment of cobots with Haas CNC machines, offering machine shops a safe, user-friendly solution to optimize spindle uptime. Haas provides the best-selling CNC machines in the Western Hemisphere, and Phillips is the world’s largest Haas Factory Outlet.
“Having an expensive machine sit idle and missing out on orders due to lack of staffing is every manufacturer’s nightmare,” said Stu Shepherd, the regional sales director for the Americas division of UR that has already sold more than 1,000 cobots for tending Haas CNC machines. “This partnership between the largest distributor of the leading CNC brand and the leading collaborative robot brand offers a huge advantage for manufacturers, helping them solve staffing issues and stay competitive. We expect this new partnership to fast-track cobots in this sector, with significant advantages for manufacturers.”
With nine offices representing 12 states throughout the South and Mid-Atlantic regions, Phillips boasts an installed base of more than 19,000 Haas CNC machines. “There is tremendous potential both for retrofitting existing installations with UR cobots and for getting through the door to new customers, offering turn-key solutions,” said Michael Garner, the president of Phillips’ Commercial Division, who is also the chairman of Haas Automation’s North American distributor council. “We see a significant demand for cobots, which address labor shortages and also support manufacturers who need flexible automation tools they can operate without safety caging. There is no hardwiring or complex coding involved in getting a UR to communicate with a Haas machine since UR has solutions like the VersaBuilt software that facilitates two-way communication between the UR cobot and the CNC.”
VersaBuilt’s Haas CNC Integration Kit is a simple, yet powerful interface that enables UR cobots to easily execute any machining program stored on the Haas CNC directly through the cobot’s own teach pendant, maintaining all Haas safety interlock features. Shepherd emphasized, “Machine tending applications have consistently delivered an ROI of less than a year, sometimes even paying themselves back in a few months. A Haas-UR solution offered with Phillips’ CNC expertise and application know how will help further improve that payback time.”
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