CommScope, a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks, has opened a new advanced manufacturing technology centre at its Kessel Lo, Belgium site. The centre will showcase a newly formed partnership with Yaskawa, the world’s largest robot supplier, to determine the feasibility of adding robot technology and greater automation to manufacturing processes.
The new Advanced Manufacturing Technology centre enables CommScope to develop automated manufacturing competencies and technology in a laboratory setting through cross-functional collaboration and partnerships with universities, knowledge partners and suppliers. The goal is to kick-start the design of new process equipment and mechanisation tools to implement in manufacturing locations globally.
“As we look to the future, the nature of manufacturing continues to evolve. Our customers expect personalisation and near immediate delivery of quality products,” said Chris Story, senior vice president of Global Supply, CommScope. “The digital factory is making manufacturing exciting again. We expect to see employees doing jobs for industries which never existed. CommScope sees the growing proliferation of flexible automation as a key part of how we innovate for our customers.”
The centre includes a vision lab to support the robotics, develop automated quality inspection and augmented reality based support tools. The mechatronics lab will design tools to facilitate craft sensitive and high precision operations. This area will also focus on the development of laser-enabled process equipment.
Yaskawa will showcase the following technologies – viewed as components in an advanced, automated manufacturing environment – at the new CommScope centre:
Motoman HC10 human collaborative robot (cobot) – designed to empower workers by helping them with repetitive tasks that are ergonomically challenging or involve heavy weights so they can focus on value-added activities
Industry 4.0 – PLC controlled robot system using Rockwell Allen Bradley controller with Moto Logix software
3D Deep Learning vision software combined with new GP7 handling robot (software supplied by Amazon Picking Challenge winner Delft Robotics)
“Manufacturing contributes more than six trillion euros to the global economy while the demand for a highly-skilled, tech savvy and innovative workforce continues to grow,” said Eddie Mennen, managing director of Yaskawa Benelux. “Yaskawa is collaborating with CommScope to modernise production technologies required to respond quickly in fast changing markets, such as electronics and high-tech.”
CommScope views this Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centre as a key way to develop and test technology and robotics that will help in its drive to add greater automation to its global manufacturing network and support its operations workforce in improving quality, efficiency and speed.
High precision robots facilitate consistency and precision which cannot be achieved by human labour, especially for technologies like fibre optic connectivity and circuits. As more customers expect instant delivery, having a machine speeds up production time while ensuring quality.
The Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centre is located in an existing area at the Kessel Lo site, remodeled and repurposed to create a modern setting where both internal and external partners can collaborate. The new space will be featured in facility tours to show customers how CommScope is working to innovate manufacturing operations, and will be a key part of talent acquisition.