Denso, a mobility supplier in Southfield, has partnered with Drishti Technologies in California to optimize manufacturing production at some of its North American facilities. Drishti offers action recognition technology that will allow Denso to generate real-time, continuous analytics on manual tasks performed by its production employees.
The dataset then gives production management the ability to identify and eliminate bottlenecks, improve processes, boost efficiency, and prioritize tasks. The partnership is part of Denso’s Long-Term Policy 2030, which outlines how the company plans to create and inspire new value for advanced mobility using disruptive technology. This is one of the first times Denso has integrated artificial intelligence into its production process.
“As Denso continues to transform into a true digital operation, having data on manual tasks fills a major gap in our analytics,” says Dave Grimmer, a senior vice president at Denso and head of its North American Production Innovation Center. “Drishti’s continuous data creation offers productivity insights and quality metrics that help us make better decisions faster.”
Drishti’s datasets are larger than those produced by traditional time and motion studies. They are also more diverse and include video.
“I’m pleased to see the impact Drishti has had on our people and processes,” says Raja Shembekar, vice president of Denso’s North American Production Innovation Center. “The potential we now see to achieve significant process gains while simultaneously helping our workforce add greater value is precisely why Denso is so committed to exploring and implementing innovation with leading-edge startups like Drishti.”
Drishti worked with A.T. Kearney on research to determine that humans still perform 72 percent of factory tasks. The data is from a survey of more than 100 manufacturing leaders and suggests that even as robotics and the Internet of Things grow, people remain central to manufacturing.
“True digital transformation efforts have to extend to the human operator because the bulk of manufacturing tasks are still done manually,” says Prasad Akella, founder and CEO of Drishti. “Denso recognized that fact well ahead of the rest of the market, and our technology is helping the company secure its position as an innovation leader in the advanced automotive manufacturing industry.”
In related news, Denso now is selling its new LPH series of low-cost, high-performance robots. The company developed the entry-level LPH to meet the demand for precision robots needed for light-duty manufacturing applications. Equipment manufacturers who are new to automation, companies reinventing their product lines, and entrepreneurs launching new devices are among those who make up the growing market for affordable robots.
“You don’t buy a big rig when all you need is a van to deliver your product,” says David Robers, sales manager of Denso Robotics, a division of Denso Products and Services Americas Inc. “The LPH is the ideal solution for manufacturers looking for a best-in-class robot to handle lighter-duty production that doesn’t justify a huge capital investment.”
The LPH is a four-axis selective compliance assembly robot arm built to handle a maximum payload of more than six pounds with a maximum arm reach of 1.3 feet. When operated routinely at the highest rated payload, the robot has a life cycle of up to five years.
Denso Robotics also showcased its VM-VL series of high-performance robots for large part manufacturing, transportation, warehousing, and other industrial applications at ATX West 2020 from Feb. 11-13 in California. The company plans to release the robots this summer.
VM robots are built to handle payloads of up to 55 pounds and come in two models: one with a maximum arm reach of nearly 5 feet and the other with a maximum arm reach of nearly 6 feet. The VL robot handles payloads of up to 88 pounds with a maximum arm reach of more than 8 feet.
Applications for the VM and VL robots include large part assembly, long-reach computer tool tending, palletizing and depalletizing, material removal and deburring, and 3-D bin picking. They are also designed for use in clean room settings such as electronics, pharmaceutical, biomedical, food processing, aerospace, technology, and other industries with sanitation requirements.