If you stick your head under the nearest height-adjustable desk, you will most likely find the name Linak. It is the name of the south Jutland producer and global market leader for electrical linear actuator technology, such as is used on hospital beds all over the world
Linak has an ambition to maintain its workforce in Denmark. Therefore it has been necessary for the family-owned company from Als to automate as much production as possible. Through ROBOTT-NET - a network of leading European technology service providers in the field of robot technology – Linak gained a so-called "voucher" which gave them firm support from DTI and from the Spanish RTO Tecnalia to automate their production with collaborative robots.
"Linak is a production company that has a lot of assembly processes and these processes are challenging in that it is difficult to automate further without robots that are able to work very closely with operators," says Søren Peter Johansen, Technology Manager at DTI's Center for Robotics.
A large part of Linak's production consists of low volume orders with a high variance. It is this part of the production that the company wanted to automate. Therefore they used a so-called 80/20 solution, which means that 80 percent of the production will be automated for 20 percent of the cost it would need to automate production 100 percent.
"So the operators are doing the tricky things while the robots do the things that they can do," says Michael Koch Larsen, production engineer at Linak.
During the project, Linak has realized the potential of using robots working closely with their human colleagues in the production process
“In a production like that at Linak, there is potential for automating further. When we look round, we can see many places where operators could benefit from getting a third hand in the form of a collaborative robot”, says Søren Peter Johansen.
The voucher project ended with a mock-up being made to verify the processes that Linak will automate.
"It has opened our eyes to the size of the automation potential at Linak – it is very big", concludes Michael Koch Larsen.