Case Study: Acieta’s FANUC Robot Increased Gross Output By 60% For a Precision Tooling

High-Speed Manufacturing

The Problem: Needed Increased Output And Productivity

AA Precision Tooling, is a small, family owned and operated shop in rural Minnesota with a worldwide mission. The company specializes in manufacturing high precision overflow parts in both large and small quantities, but owner BJ Schrank is also passionate about helping give back through his work. Through the power of hydraulics, BJ and his team manufacture non-electric pumps that provide clean water to developing countries.

BJ was looking for a way to increase output and productivity to better serve his mission, but being located in a very secluded area, finding additional skilled workers was not an easy task. When BJ was introduced to automation as a solution by Acieta, he was hesitant. Many small business owners are under the impression automation is only for larger companies and teams.

However, after a business needs assessment that an Acieta automation expert guided him through, he realized a FANUC robot could solve his company’s output and productivity issues through automation. BJ was thrilled to learn that even as a team of three, he could utilize automation technology to do his part in bettering the world.

The Solution: Introducing AA Precision Tooling To Automation

Automation was brand new to the AA Precision Tooling team, so the first step [1] Acieta took was to help BJ define his automation goals. Once defined, a FANUC Robot was determined to be the best option to take on loading their turning lathe and milling machines.

The initial programming was a bit overwhelming and intimidating to the team as there was a lot to learn. Once the team began to understand how to operate the robot employees reported that the use of automation led to an easier, more consistent workflow process. The robot can be used for the smallest operations, reduces junk parts and doesn’t require as much physical labor.

BJ also says automation has helped to empower his employees, who instead of being machine operators are now cell operators who monitor the whole system and operation.

The Result: New Customers And Increased Output

As a team, BJ and his two other employees have fully embraced the benefits of automation. The FANUC robot has lovingly been dubbed Penelope, and she’s become a part of their team. Penelope takes on the precision work and has saved the backs of her human colleagues by overtaking repetitive jobs.

Through the introduction of automation, AA Precision Tooling has attracted five new customers simply because they learned the company used automation to manufacture its custom precision parts. Since hiring Acieta to implement a robotic cell in the shop, they’ve also seen a 60% increase in its gross output.

The experts at Acieta were with BJ every step of the way to help pinpoint the best automation solution for his specific business goals and needs. We like to think that AA Precision Tooling’s results are the perfect indicator that a business is never too small for automation — and we take pride in knowing we were able to help a business who is working hard to change the world around them.

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When Our Customers Succeed, We Succeed

— BJ Schrank - Owner at AA Precision Tooling

“My robot, Penelope, is awesome. Part after part she makes my production go.”