North East earthmoving attachments specialist invests in next-generation robotic automation
BUCKET and coupler manufacturers Miller UK have significantly bolstered their manufacturing capabilities by upgrading their suite of state-of-the-art welding robots, significantly increasing production and the safety of their workforce.
With headquarters in the North East and operations across the globe, Miller UK have invested in five new robots, allowing the company to significantly improve welding speed and deliver 100% weld consistencies on its product range.
The new robots were developed by welding and automation specialists CLOOS and include three QRC 410-2.0 models, for welding attachments for machines up to 45 tonnes, and two QRC 350-E models, capable of handling attachments for machines up to 100 tonnes.
The company first invested in its welding robot range in 2018, with the installation of the smaller robots. Recognizing the value of these machines, Miller have now installed the latest machines this range with the introduction of two of the larger-sized machines, doubling the company’s production capabilities.
Miller UK believe they are the first business of their kind across the globe to have such advanced robotic welding machinery capable of producing buckets with a width of up to 3.2m and the capacity to hold up to 4.5 tonnes of material, which the larger robots can offer.
Commenting on the investment, Miller commercial director James Ross said: ‘Manufacturing technology has always been a priority and it is very important that we continue to invest in the next generation of welding equipment and robotic automation which can transform the quality to consistent market-leading levels. This will be recognized by our customers in terms of product durability and performance in the field.
‘With minimal production downtime and the ability to operate for extended periods of time, this has significantly increased our manufacturing capabilities – particularly the production of much larger buckets for extreme applications to meet demand and significantly reduce lead times for customers. As such, this allows us to have a real competitive advantage in our marketplace.’
The QRC 350-E robot model boasts a range of smart features. Featuring 12-axis movement, including the robot arm, the machine is designed to allow for more manipulation of parts, which increases its versatility and ability to reach more difficult areas on a workpiece. This allows Miller to weld more, whilst reducing the manual labour required once the robot process has been completed.
The tandem and single torch of the machine operate in conjunction with each other with the tandem torch being used for long, straight-run welds, whilst the single torch completes trickier, harder to reach radius parts. Working in synergy, not only does this increase the speed of the process whilst reducing weld times because of its high deposition rate, but it also reduces heat input, decreasing distortion of the workpiece.
Gregg Hudson, global manufacturing leader, said: ‘The new robot really does step our production capabilities up to the next level. The weld finish achieved from this machine is exceptional – and like nothing else you will see on the market – as we continue to drive our quality standards, which is what we are known for. This is showcased with our demo units at Miller HQ where customers can inspect first-hand the quality they will receive.
‘It is an exciting time at Miller for staff on the shop floor to work with the new machinery and learn the next generation of pre-programming welding automation techniques, whilst continually developing their manual skills. We have significantly invested in upskilling our workforce with complex technical know-how to operate our suite of robots and have a dedicated team for collaborative automated production.’
To increase the safety of the workforce, the robot has an extensive range of safety features, including a mechanical barrier which closes when the robot is in use and which triggers an emergency stop if it is opened.