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SpiTrex Orthopedics Selects Flexxbotics for Robot-Driven Manufacturing

Flexxbotics, delivering workcell digitalization for robot-driven manufacturing, announced that SpiTrex Orthopedics (SpiTrex), a leader in global medical device contract manufacturing, has selected the Flexxbotics solution for robot-driven manufacturing with autonomous process control in its FOBA laser marking machine workcells.

The Flexxbotics solution enables robots to communicate directly with the FOBA laser marking system and change jobs in real-time and within sequence, reducing changeover time to 10 minutes, twice a week. The robots also connect with the vision system verifying the laser marking on each part to autonomously sort based on the results ensuring closed-loop quality for higher yields.

“Flexxbotics is the only robot machine tending software solution we found capable of delivering the precision, cycle-time and closed-loop compliance required,” said Brett Gopal, SpiTrex Orthopedics Senior Vice President of Operations. “We are impressed with Flexxbotics’ autonomous process control using robots, and the ability to close-the-loop by alerting upstream and downstream workcells of quality problems based on automated inspection results which is quite unique.” Flexxbotics directs the robots to use the COGNEX camera images to determine the pass/fail status of each part, and then sends alerts with the images to pre- and post-process workcells when nonconformance issues are detected that need correcting.

Flexxbotics changes jobs in real-time and within sequence, enabling job change-over at SpiTrex in less than 10 minutes, as opposed to requiring an hour or more of an engineer’s time to set-up the workcell when a new job is run. Brett Gopal explains, “The autonomous changeover process coupled with the closed feedback loop functionality enables us to produce extremely high tolerance parts through continuous flow which reduces the overall lead time by 20+%. Flexxbotics directly improves our throughput and ROC, which in turn increases profitability.”

SpiTrex selected Flexxbotics based on the following criteria:

  • Ability to autonomously configure the robot and the FOBA laser marker for each job that will run
  • Closed-loop in-line inspection with COGNEX vision system which directs the robot to sort parts based on the FOBA marking results and conformance to critical characteristics
  • Open connectivity and interoperability between robots, FOBA laser marking system and COGNEX vision systems, along with existing IT business systems
  • Interchangeable carousels with universal switching process to enable quick changeover for faster set-up times
  • Direct feed of workcell operations & inspection data into quality repository
  • Solution flexibility to start with initial workcells, get success quickly and scale to additional FOBA laser marking workcells factory-wide

Brett Gopal continues: “Rolling out Flexxbotics across all FOBA laser marking workcells results in a 10:1 machine-to-man ratio which enables continuous operation allowing us to ship more high quality parts even with labor shortage challenges making it a game-changer for our business. It was clear the benefit of Flexxbotics’ solution horizontally integrating from one FOBA machine to another. What made their solution extremely unique was their ability to vertically integrate to our pre-machining process, post process and IT systems.”

SpiTrex is an international contract manufacturer with specific focus on complex orthopedic implants for the Spine, Trauma, and Extremity markets (Spi.Tr.Ex). The company has a multi-site manufacturing footprint across North America and Europe. 

Flexxbotics workcell digitalization is the backbone of the smart factory delivering autonomous process control for next generation machining environments utilizing robotics in the medical, aerospace and advanced industrial sectors. Flexxbotics breakthrough innovation, the unique FlexxCORE™ technology, seamlessly connects and coordinates robots with existing automation equipment, IT systems and people.

“We are proud to work with SpiTrex as they robot-enable manufacturing operations in their smart factories,” said Tyler Bouchard, Flexxbotics Co-founder & CEO. “We understand the necessity for the highest levels of precision while increasing output in advanced machining operations using robotics, particularly in sectors like medical, defense, aerospace and automotive. We believe that autonomous manufacturing cannot be achieved without autonomous process control which is why we are focused on robot-machine orchestration.”

Source: Flexxbotics

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