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Robotics Collaboration

As part of a programme of investment in our UK manufacturing facilities over the past couple of years, we’ve taken our first foray into the world of robotics recently by introducing this technology into our cable management production processes.

Catalyst for Knowledge

It was a move that we assumed would be relatively straight forward; after all robotics is a well-established technology in manufacturing environments and ours is a lean and advanced production facility.  The small size of the components we wanted to manufacture in this way and the production speeds we required made the introduction of this technology into our existing plant slightly challenging.  However, through collaboration, we have had a successful outcome not only for our own business but have also provided a value catalyst for knowledge development for our partners, Queen’s University Belfast and the Northern Ireland Technology Centre (NITC).

Major Benefits

The robotics technology that is now delivering significant operational benefits in our manufacturing plant, include:

  • Consistency
  • Reliability
  • The ability to work 24/7 even when the factory floor is off shift

Collaborating with Queen’s and NITC meant that we were able to carry out the development work for the project in a controlled environment, with the students involved on placement here investigating panel benders, folding machines and robotic press brakes to develop a best fit solution for our needs.

It’s been a resounding success all round, with Unitrunk benefitting operationally from the technology, Queen’s and NITC enhancing their knowledge, and all partners benefitting from a relationship that we can build on for future projects.


Collaborative Culture

That approach is part of our company culture here at Unitrunk. In this example, collaborative working has led to innovation in our production methods but collaboration with our customers and within our own team is also embedded into the way we do business at every touchpoint. By working together across departments we can ensure that production schedules are aligned to sales volumes, for example, so that our factory output is always tailored to meet demand. Meanwhile, by working closely with wholesalers and contractors, we can ensure that we support sales through the wholesale channel while adding value for contractors with specification advice and training.

The robotics project has been our first experience of working with Queen’s University Belfast and NITC and we hope it will be just the beginning. Wherever it leads us, we know it will be part of a journey of that forms a strong foundation for the way we work.

To find out more about our robotics project, take a look at our video: