Provide safety through system integration, says CNC Solutions

Handling sheet metal parts for this punching and forming operation was causing an unacceptable number of worker injuries until CNC Solutions automated the process with robotics and reduced number of times employees handled sharp-edged parts.


Wisconsin-based CNC Solutions is an engineering company focused on electrical and mechanical systems integration, factory automation, and safety. It applies system integration technology to provide quality plant automation solutions for machine and process controls.

Using robotics, CNC Solutions automated handling sheet metal parts for this punching and forming operation reducing the number of times employees handled sharp-edged parts, downtime and repetitive motion injuries.The company believes automation is the key to staying competitive, to providing safety, and to achieving a fast return on investment. Safety plays an important role in the success of a business by helping increase productivity and profitability. Employee injuries affect downtime and increase workmen’s compensation claims and insurance rates, which in turn impact the bottom line.

In one example, a customer was having material handling issues caused by the size and weight of their sheet metal blanks. Each operation required two people to handle the product. The process created safety hazards because of the sharp sheet metal edges of the blanks and caused multiple Workman’s Compensation claims. In addition, the operation was very labor intensive.

The CNC Solutions goal for this system was to reduce the amount of material handling required and have only one person operate the system in a safe manner. The integrator accomplished this by reducing the number of times the product was physically touched from eight to zero. The product is now introduced from a previous operation by a robot directly into the cell in a stacked form. A robotic system with various stations processes the parts as needed and stacks them for the next operation.

Robotic automation delivers uninterrupted production, virtually eliminating downtime and repetitive motion injuries. The operator is responsible for entering the part number into the HMI system and for moving the stacked parts in and out of the cell on wheeled carts. This change has reduced operator injury. Perimeter guarding also was added, including access gates and door interlocks for added safety. The new system not only saves labor and material handling, but produces a more consistent product at a higher rate than the previous manual system.

- CNC Solutions, Watertown, WI --

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