Since opening in 1962, Anodica SPA has fostered a strong culture of collaboration and placed its employees at the center of its operations. The family-run business is in Codognè, close to the historic town of Conegliano, Italy, and has become a leader in high-end handles, knobs and trimmings for consumer and professional appliances including ovens, refrigerators, cooktops, stoves, and microwaves.
Anodica’s embrace of collaboration also extends to its customers, with whom it works closely to create innovative new products. When the company decided to update its manufacturing processes, it was only natural that collaboration would play a key role, too.
"The first time I was introduced to the concept of YuMi, (I knew) in my mind that it was the future. You feel that the robot is really working with the people. The technology is really in the hands of the worker. "Giorgio Zanchetta, President of Anodica
Anodica was facing increased competition that required manufacturing productivity, and also needed to be able to offer customers more specialized designs in lots ranging from very few parts to thousands. The trend towards open kitchens in restaurants and decorator kitchens in private homes was also increasing demand for Anodica’s unique designs and new products. At the same time, the company wanted to continue its people focus by using automation to enhance jobs, not replace them.
An initial assembly cell was created where a human operator worked together with YuMi to assembly handle parts.
The cell was designed and engineered anthropometrically around the operator, so all activities in the installation are ergonomically managed. A simplified touch screen interface was created, allowing workers without specialized robot programming skills to successfully operate the application and easily accommodate changes between products.
"The setup has also improved thanks to new gripping systems on the hands of the robot, we have reduced setup time by 30 percent." Fanny Tomaselli, Anodica
The cell allows Anodica’s people to contribute their adaptability for change and judgement, while the robot brings tireless endurance for repetitive tasks. People have more of an interesting supervisory role for the application, while the robot performs jobs which are not ergonomically comfortable for people – for example tightening small screws at awkward angles in confined spaces.
According to Zanchetta, the three main benefits of YuMi are that it is easy to install, easy to use, and provides unmatched flexibility. These features have helped Anodica respond faster to changing customer preferences, maintain the high product quality and reliability they have come to be known for, and ensure that its people have interesting and healthy tasks.
Fanny Tomaselli who works with Anodica’s customer care and marketing division said YuMi is currently working in three shifts with good continuity and has helped increase average productivity by 20 percent.