What Makes 4th Generation Cell 17 So Good?

With our recent installation of our latest production cell, (Cell 17) at our production facility in Slovakia, we thought we’d share some notes on what made this project something to be proud of and what we’ve got planned in the future with the development & introduction of Cell 18!

Back in 2019 Synthotec supported by Kawasaki, developed, and manufactured the 4th generation of fully automated cell for the production of plastic bearing cages.

Previous generations have included conveyors to move production pallets into and out of position. Motors, sensors, and interlocks as well as expensive cell integration costs to link injection machine to robot with the automation.
The 4th generation cell was developed with both lean and industry 4.0 principles designed in from ground up. The design reduced complexity with, increased output, smaller footprint, reduced power consumption and significantly lower capital investment cost.

Utilizing the benefits of the six axis robots allowed for the removal of conveyors, and all the required drive, positioning and control, has meant that integration for the cell has been bought in-house.
The latter is a massive advantage in terms of cost and the control of development on further enhancements.

The cell proved so successful it won an award at the national PIA awards and has now become the template for all production cells in the Synthotec group.

A further cell was manufactured at the Synthotec site in Malvern, and became fully operational at the end of 2021. A third cell for the UK will be developed towards the end of this year.

What does the near future have in store for the site in Slovakia?

Following a robust and detailed review of the cell 17 performance and the needs for the Cell 18 with product specific automation requirements, Synthotec Slovakia we were able to confirm that the 4th Generation cell was indeed a perfect solution to deliver all prerequisites local needs.
The 4th generation cell offered the flexibility, and performance needed to meet the challenging requirements, all within a budget that was 15% below previous automation cells. A project plan has been developed with key milestones set. The cell is being manufactured & assembled by Synthotec UK and will be commissioned at the Zilina factory in approximately three weeks. So watch this space for the videos of the next cell in operation later in the spring.

Synthotec has now created a true Group manufacturing cell, which provides standardisation of approach across both factories. Coupled with the output from the Groups Real-time Industry 4.0 system, consistent data (apples to apples) is being provided to Operational management allowing greater analysis of the manufacturing cells performance with immediate feedback. Likewise lessons learnt from one cell can be more immediately shared across cells and across sites, further driving the manufacturing excellence of both factories.