Commercially viable production in a high-wage economy
While many manufacturers have transferred their production to low-wage countries, the automotive supplier Adatis has gone down the route of fully automated production in the high-wage economy of Switzerland. What sounds like a challenging project has in fact fully vindicated the decision: the plastics specialist from Martigny in the canton of Valais counts manufacturers of renown such as Bosch and Continental among its customers.
As a Tier 2 supplier with a 40-strong workforce, the company needed a convincing strategy and extremely competitive production facilities if it was to realize its ambition of supplying the technology leaders of the international automotive industry. Adatis ticks both of these boxes. The Swiss plastic molding specialist has gone for a niche market, focusing on technical high-precision parts for various applications in the automotive sector.
Adatis is often called upon to supply injection-molded inserts. The classic variants include sensors, electronic components, controls for regulating energy and heat on electric motors and the like. The typical production processes generally consist of injection molding, customizing, cutting, bending, welding, quality control and packaging the finished parts in blisters.
Robots for maximum efficiency and productivity
Complex, robot-based production processes ensure efficient production, and industrial robots supplied by Stäubli play a key role, as is demonstrated by an ingenious production line which was designed and realized by the specialists at ADATIS SA in collaboration with TCI Engineering, a Stäubli-approved system integrator. This application involves a typical task for Adatis, namely the molding of an electronic circuit board which, when installed, regulates the temperature of motors. The most prominent feature of the production line is a large Stäubli TX200.
The six-axis machine is equipped with a complex multi-function gripper, a proprietary development by TCI Engineering, which is able to perform various tasks without changing the gripper. These include placing the inserts in the injection molding machine as well as removing the finished molded parts. The robot not only scores high marks for speed but also for precision: the repeatability