Cobot creates ‘cell manufacturing dream’ for plastics thermoformer
Thermoforming, a technology that is more than a century old, uses sheet plastic that is heated to become soft so it can be vacuum-formed in or around a mold. Excess plastic is then cut off to create final products with dimensions that range from a few inches to the size of a room.
When Kal Plastics needed to replace a CNC machine that was nearing the end of its life, Goff was presented with an opportunity. She set out to research the use of cobots for her own business and agreed to share her findings at the organization’s national conference. “I did my homework and found that Universal Robots was the global leader in the collaborative robot space,” Goff said. “They came out and gave us a demonstration, and when I looked at the numbers, they were really attractive. I was looking at getting another five-axis CNC router, and at the time it would have been a $250,000 investment and I would have waited 12 months to take delivery. When I met with UR, I was quoted two weeks to get the equipment, and the entry point was a quarter or a fifth of the cost.”