Investments in Automation: Natech Wins a MAPP Innovation Award for Cobot Cell

Natech wins Innovation Award at the MAPP Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference

For Immediate Release

Ronkonkoma, NY, November 10

Natech Plastics was awarded third place for the 2022 MAPP Innovation Award in the small business category.

Natech, along with other manufacturers, was awarded at MAPP’s Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference in Indianapolis for their achievements in automation and projects that improve product quality, manufacturing efficiency, and worker safety. Attendees were able to learn about the different projects and the impacts on each company.

Sarah Worsham, Natech’s automation engineer, accepted the award at the conference. Worsham was one of the main contributors to programming and implementing the cobot, also known as Captain America, on Natech’s production floor.

“I hold Captain America very dearly. I started working with Captain America and the cobot cell right away as intern so there are many memories for me,” Worsham said, “It feels so good to know that the cell almost never went down in the last near two years I’ve been here. Walking by and seeing it running always gives me something good to feel about.”

Natech’s team observed that a high running job required multiple operators to pack parts into boxes, due to the high volume produced from the high cavity tool with a low cycle time. This was extremely exhausting for operators because of the high-speed, repetitive nature of the task. And because of the high operator demand, the organization found it difficult to effectively manage other production activities.

Natech’s solution was to implement a 6-axis collaborative Universal Robot. The Cobot transferred 20 parts off the conveyor belt at a time. After all parts are layered and placed, the operator removes the box and replaces it with a new one. It can also easily communicate using visual indicators so that the operator is aware of which box is being packed, if everything is running smoothly, and if the box is full or not.

Natech’s cobot improved the organization in three main ways:

Labor Reduction: Due to the reduction of operators, the machine went from needing three operators, to only having one operator in the station. This opened up opportunities for personnel across three shifts.

Safety: The job became safer for the one operator who works with the cobot because she is much more relaxed, has time to complete necessary steps for the job and can take small rest breaks. She also no longer must stand for all 8 hours or complete exhausting work of picking the parts off the conveyor belt as the machine runs.

Improved Quality: The cobot is more consistent with the number of parts per layer and per box, which improved the overall quality of the packaging. There is no longer the chance for human error in counting or layering.

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About Natech Plastics 

Natech Plastics is a contract development and manufacturing firm, located in Ronkonkoma, NY. Natech specializes in offering end-to-end services for clients in the medical device and diagnostics markets. Natech offers services in design, engineering, injection molding, assembly, filling and sealing, and packaging. Natech is certified ISO 9001, ISO 13485 and an FDA-registered facility, and operates an ISO class 8 cleanroom.