In conjunction with the drive by the British Automation and Robot Association (BARA) on behalf of UK Government, CKF Systems Ltd has developed a low cost robotic packing system designed to increase the take-up of automation within British industry. The system is specifically aimed at SME’s where there has been a reluctance to embrace such technologies, providing them with a very user-friendly and highly flexible operation to reduce production costs through improved efficiencies and quality control.
Designed around a standard robot cell with integrated product and case handling interfaces, the system will enable many more UK businesses to compete more effectively at home and internationally. The Gloucestershire company aims to counter the competitive advantage, through low labour rates, of businesses in Asia and Eastern Europe, by supporting BARA’s efforts to assist in the implementation of automated solutions for manufacturers of all sizes.
Chris Buxton, CEO of the British Automation & Robot Association (a PPMA Group Company), stated: "It is to the credit of CKF that they have risen to the challenge. If the UK is to remain competitive on the global stage it is essential that companies adopt the latest technology available but they often find that the capital cost of establishing an automated facility can be prohibitive. CKF has clearly identified a solution to this conundrum that can help UK Manufacturers take that all important step into the world of robotics."
Although the situation is starting to change, recent reports show that the UK still lags behind much of the world in robotic investment, with one report highlighting Germany employing a ratio of 127 robots per 10,000 employees compared to the UK figure of 25 robots.
"There is a limit to what can be achieved by the application of efficiency measures if operations continue to be based on manual input," explains Ian Schofield, Sales Manager, CKF Systems Ltd. "Yet many SME’s, typically with between 10 and 100 employees, consider automation a step too far. Over the past 12 months, CKF has been examining ways to address their concerns relating to the skill sets required and the perceived costs. Our ready-made, low cost robotic packing system doesn’t require highly skilled operators, it is easily maintained and utilises a relatively small area of any shop floor. It handles medium to high speed repetitive tasks more efficiently over sustained periods than manual labour, with greater consistency and reduced wastage. A company can then make better use of resources, redeploying staff more productively whilst also reducing the likelihood of RSI and other health and safety concerns."
CKF is a well established specialist supplier of integrated solutions to the manufacturing industry, particularly in the area of food processing and packaging. It serves customers worldwide, including many global brands, utilising new technologies designed to transform virtually all aspects of production.