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Delivery reliability increased
without additional skilled workers

CNC manufacturing technology Liebl…

manufactures precision parts for special machine construction. The company is located in Gebesee, a community of 2,000 people in the Thuringian Basin, where the skills gap is particularly evident: In 2023, 49.5 percent of all vacancies lacked qualified workers, and the forecast for 2035 does not look much better.

The goal of owner Rene Liebl: to secure regional production in Gebesee by decoupling the order flow from personnel and allowing short-term orders to be realized regardless of personnel availability.

Before automation…

and even today, the strongly fluctuating demand is at the heart of day-to-day business. A predictable order intake often does not correspond to reality. Customers expect delivery within a few days or even directly after the weekend – especially for urgent requests. For requests with short delivery times, there were simply no operators available to produce in the late or night shift.

The solution…

consisted of a CNC automation that works even when the operators have already finished work. A vertical MAZAK machining center of the type VCN-530C was to be fed. The processing machine was retrofitted with a robot interface and two pneumatic clamping devices. The clamping device is controlled by the robot control system, which minimized the costs of the conversion. To further increase the autonomous running time, the SherpaLoader® was also equipped with a regripping station, which means that the front and back can be processed in one pass.

A SpaceBox serves as material storage, which can accommodate over 400 raw parts measuring 60 x 100 x 35 mm, enabling an autonomous running time of more than 60 hours.

Without additional shift allowances, a robot now processes rush orders at night or series production at weekends so that the parts are ready for delivery the next working day.

The relief for operators is not only achieved by eliminating night shifts, but also by making order preparation easier. The picking of blank parts is no longer carried out by machine operators, but by warehouse workers. By decoupling logistics and production, material preparation now takes place in the warehouse, rather than in front of the machine tool as it used to be.

The secret behind productivity lies less in speed than in the stability and continuity of the processes. While an operator can only work one shift, a robot can work up to three shifts – without breaks and at a constant speed. With suitable jobs, the robot can be used for more than 100 hours per week.

Rene Liebl, owner:

“Qualified machine operators are rare at the Gebesee site. An increase in delivery reliability can therefore only be achieved with the support of a robot. We simply cannot afford not to automate CNC machines!”