Allied Cycle works is competing directly with offshore manufacturing. They need to take advantage of anything that will give them the edge with efficiency, which means adding automation. Sam Pickman, one of the founders of Allied, enlisted Ben VandeHoef, with Phillips Corporation, an AEDC- Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions automation partner, to help with the project. AEDC- Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions is part of the MEP National Network™.
Ben is an OPTO (optimizing your machining process) application engineer at Phillips. Ben says, “There are some places that you need to go in and convince the customer that automation is a solution.” That wasn’t the case with Allied. Sam says, “We’re going head to head with Asian manufacturing, and the only way to do it is to pull costs closer in line, and for us, efficiency and automation are the only way that we’re going to be able to make it.”
We are really happy with the system. It is incredibly well thought out and has allowed us to keep our spindles running for 2-3 times longer than we were previously. VersaBuilt’s strategy of using one interface on the robot (MultiGrip Gripper and jaws) to connect to the work holding means you can adapt any part to the system really easily. The concept is a no brainer.
Allied has a wide variety of parts but generally runs lots of 50 parts. Because of this, they needed a system that was easy to do changeovers with and wouldn’t require a ton of supporting tooling. They needed a flexible solution that could support a high mix of parts.Ben returned to Sam and the team at Allied with two solutions: a Phillips custom solution utilizing a UR robot and VersaBuilt’s CNC Mill Automation System. Ben proposed both systems but was confident that the VersaBuilt system would be the best solution. Pickman chose to automate with Versabuilt