Robotic Lean Cells: How To Shop For A Robot

Amanda Gay

What’s keeping you up at night? Is it your worry about how much of your team will show up for work tomorrow, or is it the inescapable truth that some of your best people are retiring in the next five years?

The pandemic hasn’t created challenges that we would never face otherwise – it has merely accelerated them. Robotics aren’t just for car manufacturing anymore – we’re in it now. Shops that adopt robotics today will be better able to weather this storm, but they’ll also be poised to adopt upcoming technology like machine learning and AI. 

The robotic lean cell has the benefit of requiring less training for your team than any other new machine. Visionary leaders also recognize that bringing in a robot now means they’ll likely have the capability to do even more incredible things in the future. If you’re thinking about getting a robotic lean cell for your shop, you’ll want to partner with a team that gives you a full-service solution. You want the machine dealer to work closely with your software developer and industrial engineers. The robotic lean cell is a complex integration, and you want to look for those companies that have been investing in these innovations and adapting them for our industry for years.

Shops with robotics are poised to take advantage. If you want in and you’re still in the early stages of shopping around, ask questions about the level of collaboration and investment in R&D to ensure you’ll have the flexibility to do volume and quickly adapt to custom work. Make sure you can handle that high-rise project and the next custom kitchen.

If you’re trying to figure out how many people a robot can realistically free up for other jobs, think about the following elements in your workflow:

  1. Intelligent Offloading – the robot can take parts off the CNC, scan the labels, and know precisely what to do with them.
  2. Automated Doweling – the robot can bring parts to the dowel machine and get the dowels on.
  3. Multiple Sorting Options – the robot can put parts onto the correct rack, sorted according to your specifications (ex. by project, cabinet, size, etc.)

With that in place, your valuable humans can do other things. Consider teaching them how to use the software. Make sure to continue offering opportunities for them to upgrade their skills and get the most out of your CAD/CAM. It’s good for your business and great for employee retention. Knowing that, you’ll sleep easy!

Learn more about robotic lean cells at

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