Robotic Cutting Workcell for Sparks Fiberglass Increases Production Speed by 200%

Genesis Automated Cutting Solution Reduces 3 Production Days Down to 1

Manufacturer Sparks Fiberglass needed a custom robotic cutting and trimming solution to facilitate their high-volume production of fiberglass antenna covers for cell phone towers.

Established in the late 80s as a small fiberglass boat repair shop along the Mississippi River, Sparks Fiberglass expanded rapidly over the next decade. To accommodate their growth, the company soon opened larger facilities and expanded their portfolio of services. Eventually, Sparks decided to focus exclusively on the high-volume production of fiberglass antenna covers for cell phone towers. It was then that they realized an automation solution was required to meet their production and cost objectives.

The Challenge

Manufacturing, cutting and trimming antenna covers was labor intensive with high quality standards, which led to low production and unsustainable levels of reworking.

The Solution

Working in tandem with members from Sparks, the Genesis design and engineer team developed a robotic cutting and trimming workcell to trim, drill and route fiberglass antenna covers as well as miscellaneous fiberglass parts.

The system features a Fanuc R2000 six-axis robot with a 10 hp spindle motor mounted to the arm. The robot was designed to process parts on two 120-inch tables positioned on either side of the robot. Each table was tapped with a series of holes to accept different fixtures as new processes were identified.

The robot was programmed to automatically pick up the appropriate tool for the job – choosing from blades, burrs, router bits and drills – depending on the application. The selection process included sensors to ensure the right tool was chosen and in proper alignment with the end of the robot arm.

The Results

Genesis Systems delivered a robotic cutting and trimming workcell that far exceeded the Sparks Fiberglass team’s expectations, providing a twelve-fold increase in annual production levels. What used to three days by hand is now done by the workcell in one day.

In addition to providing a safer environment for the workers, the Genesis Systems robotic cutting and trimming workcell improved the consistency and quality of fiberglass antennas, nearly eliminating rework processes.

The flexibility built into the workcell’s tool and fixture capabilities even allows Sparks to automate a few of their other fiberglass cutting and trimming processes, further extending the productivity gains the workcell provides.

The exponentially higher production capacity and product quality has already led to several new Sparks Fiberglass customers for fiberglass antennas. In fact, production has skyrocketed and business growth has created increased demand that is outpacing production. The plan is to add another robotic cutting and trimming workcell in the near future.

Improve your production and quality with a robotic cutting solution from Genesis.

Let’s Discuss Your Unique Robotic Cutting Application Requirements.

Call us 563-445-5600.