Agile robotic machine loading systems news

Agile increases unmanned run time for MTH Pumps’ highest volume product line

An Agile Modular machine loading solution has been employed by MTH Pumps to increase the unmanned loading capacity for one of their product lines from 40 pieces to 320 pieces and consequently, helped insulate MTH from the effects of the pandemic by enabling this product line to continue uninterrupted while their other product lines slowed down due to limited staff availability.

Kurt Serlovsky Tim Tremain and Bob McCrory from MTH Pumps

(Left to right) MTH Pumps Manufacturing Manager Kurt Serlovsky, President Tim Tremain and Director of Operations Bob McCrory in front of their Agile Modular machine loading system.

“The Agile automation system insulated MTH from the effects of the pandemic by enabling our highest volume product line to continue uninterrupted while our other product lines slowed down due to limited staff availability.” said Tim Tremain, President of MTH Pumps.

MTH is a family-owned business, manufacturing commercial and industrial pumps since 1965 for use in applications such as refrigeration, medical/industrial chillers and boiler feed. Located in Plano Illinois, with over 70 staff and one of the largest collections of Mazak Integrex machines in the Midwest, the company has developed an appetite for improvement through automation due to the ability to increase part production from existing equipment and the reduction of lost production time due to staff availability.

The product line involved in this story is for the machining of T31 pump casings. An existing gantry loading solution was limited to 40 pieces before manual intervention was required. This limitation meant that MTH were missing productive operation time during an unmanned third shift and weekends, putting a crunch on their ability to meet customer demand.

Satisfying the customer’s objective for an unmanned third and weekend shift, this Agile Modular cell features two Agile 8-drawer systems, a Fanuc M20iA/35M robot equipped with an Agile twin 3-jaw gripper package, and the state-of-the-art Agile Cell Controller software.

Replacing the customers’ existing pitch-feed conveyor, this Agile system serves pump housings to the Gantry Loader of the Mazak Integrex i-200S machine tool.

The class-leading parts holding capacity of the two Agile 8-drawer systems allows the customer to pre load 320 pump housings into the cell, an increase of a staggering 800% on the pitch-feed system it replaces.

This increased capacity means the machine tool can now process parts across an entire weekend unattended, resulting in some serious productivity gains for the customer.

No more special trips to work for production needs over nights or weekends.

MTH chose the Agile Robotic Systems solution because it has vast knowledge and experience with Mazak integration, and the system cost was very reasonable for the payback in gained productivity.

The Agile Modular system has improved weekly max production from 576 pcs/wk to over 1000 pcs/wk. In addition to fulfilling customer demand through increased productivity, MTH are also benefiting from a more ergonomically efficient load and unload process and safer operator access.

Here is what some the key people from MTH had to say about the Agile Robotic Systems machine loading system.

Tim Tremain, MTH Pumps President said: “The capacity gain on this machine, which now matches that of our impeller producing equipment was the driver behind the idea to augment our existing loading system, but the willingness and seeming ease in accommodating our particular needs for an expanded loading system, all at a reasonable price, was what made the purchase of the Agile system an easy decision. Given the same scenario for increasing production needs, we wouldn’t hesitate to go with an Agile system again.”

Bob McCrory, MTH Pumps Director of Operations added: “The drawer system is simple and ergonomic which allows us to cross-train others for loading and unloading while key individuals continue working on set-ups.“

Kurt Serlovsky, MTH Pumps Manufacturing Manager concluded: “The Agile robot system, by allowing us to run lights out, has been a significant key to our on-time delivery.”