Invertek Drives boosts product testing by integrating collaborative robots into production

Universal Robots (UR), the most widely deployed collaborative robot (cobot) manufacturer in the world, has announced that Invertek Drives, the global designer and manufacturer of variable frequency drives (VFDs), has incorporated two UR5 cobots into the testing phase of its production line.

By automating this aspect of its operations, the company has successfully improved workflow consistency. 

Earlier this year, Invertek Drives opened the doors to its new 5,500 square metre global manufacturing and distribution facility in Welshpool, UK, enabling the production of up to 400,000 Optidrive VFDs a year. Its VFDs are used to control electric motors in a variety of industrial, commercial and energy-saving applications, exporting to more than 80 countries.

Flexible automation

This immense output, along with big variation in product lines and tasks, meant the company needed a flexible automation solution able to switch between different jobs and part sizes throughout the production process. With the support of RARUK Automation, the UR5 cobot was deemed the perfect fit during testing because of its ease-of-programming, size and scalability.

“Our workloads can change every other minute, and we can manufacture over 15,000 variations of our products. This means we need cobots that can handle the inspection and testing of constantly changing devices, all within a single production line,” explains Peter Evans, Manufacturing Engineering Manager at Invertek Drives.

“This is where our UR5s shine. Working 16-hour shifts, they can achieve this and so much more.”

During production, Invertek Drives conducts live tests of VFDs where the safety of its employees was a factor for introducing the cobots. Previously, employees had to physically enter the testing area to press a button, which adds time to the testing cycles.

More test cycles

The deployment of the cobots has also significantly improved consistency in operations, as they can be stationed to undertake a task in fixed intervals. With work cycles normally requiring around ten minutes to complete, the company can now conduct more test cycles per hour.

The cobots also play a major part in quality control thanks to a specialist end-of-arm unit that was created by Invertek’s in-house Manufacturing Engineering team.

Equipped with a Cognex vision system, lighting controls, a fan-speed sensor and robotic finger, the specialised component enables a full range of complex tests such as visual inspection to be performed to ensure that the product is operating correctly.

For media information about Invertek Drives, contact:

Owain Betts, Media and Communications

t:          +44 (0)1938 558 253

m:        +44 (0)7787 437 052



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