Xcelerate at Anton Paar
Anton Paar produces, develops and sells measuring tools for a range of different applications. The company was founded in 1922 and is located in Graz, Austria. The company specialises in devices for measuring density, concentration and rheology and for determining the amount of CO2 in dissolved carbon dioxide. Anton Paar employs around 2,500 members of staff, who use automation solutions daily for the production of virtually all of the company’s measuring tools. While a typical batch consists of 100 workpieces, this number can rise to 500 and even to 1,000 workpieces in extreme cases.
Anton Paar’s Georg Supp first encountered Cellro when he watched a demo of Xcelerate, which was organised by Steindl, Cellro’s local distributor in Austria.
Xcelerate is often used in turning and milling machines. The decision to use Xcelerate arises from the difficulty in finding qualified staff capable of carrying out this work, particularly for the afternoon and night shifts. This meant that Georg and his colleagues had to find a solution for keeping their machines running even when no members of staff were present.
“We currently have one Xcelerate in operation, and we expect to take delivery of a new unit in March or April.”
Cellro and Xcelerate were chosen because the system is simple and easy to install. It is also brand neutral, enabling it to be combined with virtually any other machine. A number of different CNC machines are installed at Anton Paar, and Xcelerate can be used with each of them.
“Xcelerate lives up to our expectations. We were looking for a low-cost solution that allows for simple operation.”
One Xcelerate has been in use for a year now, and much has changed in the meantime. The most significant change is that Anton Paar now runs an additional shift. The result is a decrease in machine costs per hour at Anton Paar. Personnel costs are also lower, production time has increased and the quality is unchanged. But according to Georg Supp, it is their collective mindset that has changed the most. As he puts it, “Cellro has altered the way we think about our machining processes. Since the machine has to run without an operator, it is essential to make some changes.”
Due to the complexity and accuracy of the production process, it is important to be able to automatically carry out measurements in the machines and make adjustments. This must take place efficiently, even in the absence of an operator.
“Optimum alignment is essential in terms of how the robot and machine work together. To do so, you have to adopt the perspective of the robot and the machine and really take a look at their movements and reactions.”
According to staff at Anton Paar, the software is easy to understand after completing a brief training course. Staff are taught and trained on both the machine’s operations and the operator’s activities. This means they are accustomed to dealing with complex systems. Cellro software can be used with ease by virtually anyone within a short period of time.
Georg believes that collaboration between robots and humans will continue to expand in the future, as automation will increasingly be used for lower volumes too. Anton Paar will therefore continue to invest in automation, including for batches featuring lower numbers.