The Automation Advantage: Exploring the Integration of Robotics into ACE Controls

Since ACE Controls was originally founded, robotics and automation have been the defining trend in manufacturing. It’s easy to see why: automation offers unparalleled boosts to efficiency, productivity, and precision. Faced with the rising demands of a global market and ever-improving innovations, the adoption of robotics has transitioned from being a competitive advantage to a necessity. While ACE has had a pivotal role in supplying parts for automation and robotics, it is officially integrating dynamic new robotic units into our assembly process. This strategic initiative is not just about keeping pace with industry trends; it’s about setting new standards. As a leader in the field of industrial shock absorbers and gas springs, ACE Controls exemplifies how long running manufacturers can transform into cutting-edge production facilities equipped with top of the line industrial automation.

Making the substantial changes necessary to automate part of the manufacturing process is no easy feat: it involves meticulous planning, restructuring of existing production lines, and no small investment. For ACE Controls, this meant identifying tasks that were both valuable and easily automated. Our chosen task for automation is the lasering of parts, including the loading and unloading of products from the laser, which allows a single employee to operate both of our laser machines simultaneously, significantly improving efficiency. The Universal Robots UR10, a medium-duty industrial collaborative robot (or “cobot”) known for its long reach and high payload, has been selected for this purpose. This cobot was chosen for its built-in safety features and ease of programming, making it ideal for many applications. Thanks to its easy integration into a wide range of applications, additional cobots can be added to the production process without requiring additional expertise.

This automation not only speeds up production but also significantly reduces human error and material waste. Even once it’s operational, there is still much work to be done. At ACE Controls, the integration requires a new line of maintenance and quality control efforts. It has also required new communication strategies, workforce training, and safety policies to account for the automated work. Ensuring that the robotic systems operate flawlessly involves regular system diagnostics, updates to operational software, and routine physical checks to prevent malfunctions. We’ve even added employee training that focuses on system management and emergency responses to equip the team with the skills needed to handle advanced automated technologies.

Like the larger industry, ACE Controls is no stranger to the challenges of robotics integration. In the manufacturing sector, the adoption of robotic technology often entails navigating significant investments and managing the complexities of integrating new systems with legacy equipment. But the benefits are clear: automation reduces errors, increases efficiency, and frees up human resources for more complex tasks. We expect a significant improvement in productivity and resource allocation, and even more to come as we automate further.