igus invests in automation to reduce lead times
igus has announced the official opening of its automated assembly line for readycable at its UK facility in Northampton. Representing a significant investment for company, the new line uses fully-automated machines and lean manufacturing methods to streamline its manufacturing process to deliver fully-harnessed drive cables shipped within 24 hours of order placement.
Matthew Aldridge, managing director, igus UK commented: “A few years ago, our sole focus was on selling plastic bearings, energy chains and cables with little assembly work.
“More recently we have stepped into robotics and automation based on our component parts and are now investing in automation ourselves to enable us to move into assembly within the UK.”
Historically, igus used to assemble cables manually by cutting back the outer jacket, teasing out the shielding, then stripping the jackets off each of the inner cores and adding crimps; this is a time consuming and laborious process. Now these operations are fully automated using the new readycable line, which also gives 100% quality of assembly.
Aldridge added: “We have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on machines to automate this process, cutting lead times from 6 or even 10 weeks down to 24 hours. The chainflex cable is cut to length from our extensive stock held in Northampton and all common connector components are available ex stock. This total package means that customers will usually receive their readycable the next working day, fully-tested with a guaranteed service life…All this automation does not mean that we will be shedding jobs, this automated assembly line will enable us to grow our business, creating more jobs for the area.”