Robotic solutions have made drastic progress in making manufacturing easy and efficient. Innovative automation solutions allow manufacturers to provide high-throughput and have a reliable process. Although there are many advantages to robotic solutions, some manufacturers are still skeptical about switching over. Potential cost is one of the reasons. Manufacturers need to take into account that after purchasing their new robot, they may still need to hire a systems integrator to get it running. One single robotic arm can cost between $50,000 upwards to $100,000. On top of that, you have to pay roughly $150,000 to hire a system integrator for custom engineering. Plus, once it’s installed, it cannot be moved or redeployed to a new task. All of these considerations made it tough for Delphon to effectively automate, but with an ongoing machine operator shortage, they needed to do something fast.
CASE STUDY: Affordable Robotic Solutions Save Thousands for Delphon
It only took the Rapid Robotics RMO a few days to get up and running on an important pad printing job, without system integration or training.
October 17th, 2022 • 4 min read
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Automating a traditional pad printing process in less than a week
By “hiring” RMOs at an OpEx friendly monthly rate, Delphon was able to save $20,400 per month and redeploy 8 operators to other jobs
The challenges of robotic solutions
Bay Area based material developer, Delphon, was eager to switch their Touchmark business, which provides high quality, precision pad printing services to the medical device and electronics industries, over to automation as they were finding it difficult to find machine operators for its production operations.
Delphon is a materials developer in engineered polymers and adhesive solutions for the semiconductor, photonics, medical and electronics industries. Through its Gel-pak, UltraTape, and TouchMark divisions, the company is known for its breakthrough products that provide solutions for manufacturing processes in an all encompassing market.
Delphons buTouchMark had considered robotic automation in the past, but the ROI never made sense. Other cobots worked at the same rate as a human operator, needed constant supervision and were costly. TouchMarks labor costs and throughput would have stayed the same, while its CapEx would actually have increased.
As Delphon searched for solutions to automate their production operations, they encountered consistent issues: The robotic solutions they explored were either too costly, took too long to install, or delivered too little value.
Switching over to affordable and efficient robotic solutions
The Rapid Machine Operator (RMO) from Rapid Robotics offered everything Delphon was looking for. Key factors in their consideration were that RMOs come with built-in computer vision and pre-trained artificial intelligence as well as an outstanding subscription plan of “hiring” an RMO for a low monthly cost. RMOs also don't need system integration. “With integrators, we’ve experienced all kinds of design delays and miscalculations. We literally just received a piece of equipment [from an integrator] that has been in the works for two and a half years, and was supposed to be in- house a year and a half plus ago. With the RMO, there was none of that hassle,” said Philip Haseltine, VP of Delphon’s manufacturing operations.
It only took the Rapid Robotics RMO a few days to get up and running on an important pad printing job, without system integration or training. The pad printing deployment was so simple and successful that Delphon soon started using RMOs to remove foreign material during the assembly process for parts used to handle semiconductor chips. Touchmark put another RMO to work on a task it had been running the same way for 30 years — applying pressure-sensitive adhesive to semiconductor packaging.
Touchmark was quickly saving $15,640 per month
Production became less expensive and more consistent. TouchMark’s RMOs worked at the same rate, hour by hour, day by day, unaffected by breaks, sick days and PTO. That steady pace proved invaluable during the pandemic, when other manufacturers were struggling to staff their machines.
TouchMark’s automation project went so well, its sister division, Gel-Pak, started using RMOs to clean molded parts with an ionized air knife prior to assembly. With two RMOs doing the work of five Gel-Pak operators, the company saves $20,400 per month. Gel-Pak can run many different parts of various sizes and features with very little change to the RMO over time.