MASPRO has a strong reputation in the industry for delivering operational efficiencies to some of the world’s best-known mining companies.
Recently, the established Australian engineering business has turned this skill inward, investing heavily in automation to drive efficiency at the production and manufacturing stages.
The MASPRO team will be taking delivery of optical 3D metrology scanning equipment, allowing complex measurement of millions of data points in seconds, as well as investing in advanced CNC machining tools to increase precision and safety. This equipment delivers optimum precision to customers and speeds up the process, removing many hands-on, menial tasks.
Plus, the 24/7 operability of automated equipment means that MASPRO can maximise resource utilisation, with skilled staff providing high-level monitoring and management of the production process.
The MASPRO production team will soon be utilising equipment such as:
- An Agile Flex 35D automated CNC machine loader that stores pre-cut steel blanks ready for batch production, automatically loading them in sync with the machining software. This removes the need for manual handling and eliminates the risk of repetitive stress injury. It also allows our machinists to focus on more complex roles such as programming rather than time-consuming and difficult installation and setup of parts.
- An ATOS ScanBox designed to take 12 million points of measurement per scan, creating a 3 micron accurate repeatable part item report. This robot eliminates setup times and menial repetitive tasks involved in precise measurement.
- A T-SCAN Hawk hand-held scanner, allowing incredibly fast digitisation and allowing our engineering team to expedite R&D capabilities.
Welding and fabrication is another aspect of manufacturing that invites an opportunity to test automation and robotics. Some of the new items in our product development pipeline like inner zooms and cradles are complicated, requiring precision welding, especially at corners. This can be difficult even for the most skilled welders and fabricators.
With the introduction of welding rigs like the Corner Cell welder and the X-Wing welding positioner, both of which use a Fanuc Robotic Arm, these complex processes become much more efficient.
By automating part of the process and allowing operators to load and unload, our team can increase capacity without significant disruption to welding workflows.
These robotic welders are self-cleaning and self-correcting, and once programmed, the onboard laser sensor will eliminate common welding problems like undercutting, excessive melt-through, incomplete fusion and join penetration, and help control porosity, weld metal and heat-affected zone cracks.
Rise of the robots?
Whilst some industry sectors may be concerned about robots replacing humans and a decrease in work opportunities, Managing Director Greg Kennard is optimistic about the benefits of automation that are often missed amongst scaremongering headlines.
Greg notes that as global manufacturing becomes increasingly autonomous and AI-driven, skilled production and engineering staff will become more in demand, particularly for their problem-solving ability, unconventional thinking and creativity.
“Automation offers faster, safer, more precise production, and can give us economies of scale, however skilled employees will always be a critical part of this exciting and innovative new era for the mining industry,” says Greg.
“Innovation via robotic equipment, programming and automation will help the industry free up time for their skilled engineers and internal experts, removing dull manual tasks and clearing the decks for creative thinking and design. This is what the industry desperately needs more of right now,” says Greg.
“The culture of innovation that Australia is known for is sure to remain strong when we collectively give our best people more time to think, create and experiment.”
Increasing safety across the board
Of course, automation is here to stay with leading mining companies embracing the benefits of technology – the most obvious of which is increased safety.
“We work in a high-risk industry,” explains Greg.
“Any new technology that can reduce the risk of harm to employees – even by a fraction – is worth looking into. Safety is our primary focus from a manufacturing and production perspective, so removing high-risk tasks from our process is helping to drive our investment in automation.”
As a leader in mining drill parts, MASPRO is determined to keep pace with world trends and embrace the benefits of technology, machine learning and automation where there is a clear benefit to its employees and customers.
“We’re not taking these decisions lightly, but technology is the way of the future,” says Greg.
“Our measured approach means we can take advantage of new technologies whilst also ensuring our staffing, production and delivery operations can keep pace with any changes. This is key to ensuring we seamlessly integrate technology into our business with zero disruption to our service levels.”
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