Daften: PROCESS INNOVATION & FUNDING SUPPORT

WHO ARE DAFTEN DIE-CASTING LTD?

Daften Die-Casting Ltd, established in 1961, is a family run business in Wadebridge, Cornwall. They offer aluminium pressure die-casting, from the design and manufacture of tooling, through to the die-casting of the component and machine finishing, as well as powder-coating.

WHAT BUSINESS SUPPORT HAVE THEY RECEIVED?

After an initial scoping meeting with an ATI Business Innovation Advisor and as part of our 12 hour support package, Daften were introduced to an Exelin manufacturing specialist and underwent a ‘Process Innovation Diagnostic’. Greater use of robots within the business was identified as a process improvement that would keep Daften competitive. With several options available to the company, the directors decided that a robotic sanding machine was a possible solution to the very messy and manual process of hand grinding their aluminium products. ATI helped Daften investigate the robotic arm option and awarded them an innovation grant of £17,669, to help towards the costs of purchasing this new machinery.

WHAT’S THE INNOVATION?

Also known as a ‘cobot’, Daften have installed a robotic arm which is capable of learning multiple tasks in order to assist humans. In this case, the robotic arm has been equipped with a sanding tool and taught how to fulfil the dusty and labour-intensive process of machine grinding their products.

WHY ARE THEY DOING IT?

Investing in the installation of a collaborative robot not only improves the working environment for employees at Daften, who will no longer have to undertake the unpleasant task of hand grinding their products, but also looks to reduce health and safety concerns surrounding hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS); caused by the repetitive sanding process. What’s more, by working collaboratively with the robot, the operator is able to focus on the completion process, which increases efficiency and overall productivity by achieving a faster cycle time.

WHAT HAVE THEY ACHIEVED SO FAR?

“Some of the changes that we have experienced as a result of the innovation included increased productivity, reducing health and safety concerns (such as HAVS), along with consistent quality improvements” says Mark Weedon, Director of Daften Die-Casting. Their robotic sanding machine has sped-up production and also improved the overall consistency of the sanding process, which has contributed to a reduction in the need for the operator to replace sanding disks – all aspects saving the company time and money. The robotic arm has become a real “helping hand”, says Mark.

With thanks to Daften and X-STK.com, who supplied us with this video footage showing the old manual process verses the updated cobot. View the full video here.