Wolf Metals is a metal manufacturer in Columbus, Ohio. From sheet metal flattening, to laser cutting, deburring – Wolf Metals has been supporting automotive and aerospace customers for over forty years with high-quality metal manufacturing services.
Like many US manufacturers, Wolf Metals was struggling with the labor shortage. Despite their best efforts, they found themselves unable to hire or retain skilled workers to run their deburring machine. As demand steadily grew, what started as a sore spot had become a choke point that was impacting their business. They knew they needed to automate, but they were intimidated by the high cost, and long lead times associated with these projects. Concerned by their lack of automation experience, Wolf needed an affordable solution that their team could manage.
Wolf approached FINCH Automation, a READY Robotics stocking distributor based in Indiana. In helping manufacturers of all sizes deploy automation installations since 1967, FINCH was well aware of the cost concerns shared by most manufacturers. That is why FINCH has become a proponent of Epson robots. With price points roughly 1/3rd the cost of other industrial and collaborative robots, FINCH uses Epson robots to create ultra-affordable automation solutions, However, there is a catch. Like most robot OEMs, Epson robots have their own proprietary and complex programming language. This programming interface can be a barrier for customers who want to manage automation with their in-house staff. In order to solve the complexity of programming while still keeping costs low for Wolf Metals, FINCH designed a robotic system featuring a Epson VT6L powered by Forge OS.
In less than a week FINCH was able to deploy and program a 6kg payload Epson industrial robot which cost just $14,000 yet offered sufficient reach for this deburring task. The complete solution featuring an Epson VT6L powered by Forge OS, custom end effector with Coval vacuum cups, and a Hokuyo safety laser scanner cost just $37,000 – including setup and programming by FINCH. Forge OS played a key role in keeping costs down by reducing deployment time and up-front programming costs.