Merging KUKA’s Modern Robotics With Vintage Machinery

Confronted with fierce, increasingly cheap global competition, US manufacturer M&B Hangers stepped boldly into the world of robotics and factory automation. Teaming advanced KUKA robots with the company’s vintage hanger-making machinery in its factory in Leeds, Alabama, output improved by a staggering 250%, increasing profits and enabling M&B Hangers to keep its production line in the United States.

KUKA KR QUANTEC PA palletizing robot

Automation Brings Radical Change

With 74 years of continuous hanger production under its belt, infusing robotic automation into M&B’s well-worn manufacturing process posed a unique challenge. Harnessing the automation expertise of Fitz-Thors Engineering, solutions were devised to blend the precise abilities of seven KUKA robots with the decidedly old-school quirks of M&B’s wire hanger forming machines. The result is a factory that seamlessly blends proven production techniques with the kind of speed and precision only cutting-edge robotics can deliver. 
 

Robots: Better, Faster, Stronger

Whereas humans previously oversaw material handling and picking/packing duties, an industrious team of four KUKA KR AGILUS sixx robots and two KR QUANTEC pro robots now does the work of heavy lifting and packing using a vision-based system to quickly collect, inspect, and sort hangers. Further downstream, a hearty KUKA KR QUANTEC PA robot now manages palletizing responsibilities, saving factory staff from difficult, potentially hazardous physical labor. 
 
A KUKA KR AGILUS robot autonomously loads boxes with precisely 500 hangers.

A Big Step Toward a Brighter Future

Through clever use of robotic automation, M&B Hangers has enjoyed faster production times, improved packing accuracy, and reduced waste versus the old manual process. Those giant leaps in efficiency have allowed the company to remain competitive on the global stage, expand their business, hire more workers, and keep production at their existing factory in Alabama, USA. Given such monumental gains, it’s a fair bet the seven KUKA robots currently boosting production for M&B Hangers won’t be company’s last. 
KUKA’s innovative robotic solutions help this family-run factory conquer fierce global competition.

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