Magna’s Advanced Robotics:





Tobias Pikos and his shop-floor colleagues at Magna’s Rosenberg Transmission Systems facility in Germany say the plant’s new advanced robot has been accepted as “part of the family.”

“Robots make our jobs easier,” said Pikos, a team leader in the plant’s heat treatment area. “They don’t do our jobs, they help us to do our jobs.”

Robots have been part of the Rosenberg manufacturing operation since 2013. The latest version operating behind a fence near Pikos and his six-person team is another major step toward the factory of the future.

The robot is one of the first in Magna to be equipped with new Moonflower software and a camera system that enables it to recognize parts. The robot is capable of lifting everything from small parts to heavy ones and can process about a thousand pieces per shift.

The Rosenberg plant makes manual transmissions and gear sets, complex products with as many as 200 parts, for BMW and Daimler.

Pikos used to lift and load those parts before the robot was installed last December. Today, his tasks include “feeding” the advanced robot cell and making sure the robot has enough material to do its work.

“I have a better job because of the robot,” he said. “Today, I can do quality checks, participate in meetings or work with my colleagues. The robot is doing the hard job – and it never says no.”

Any concerns about new technology in the production area were quickly dispelled once the robot was installed.

“You don’t have to study robotics to work with the robot,” Pikos explained. “It’s easy to handle and it only took about a week to get comfortable working alone with it.”

There are other benefits to working with the robot, according to its human colleagues.

“Our productivity has increased with the robot,” Pikos said. “Now, I can work five days a week and have more time with my family, especially on Saturdays. I can garden or play with my son, Jaro, and my dog Nero.”

A second advanced robotic cell is set for installation at the Rosenberg plant this summer.

“I would tell people in other Magna divisions the experience has been very positive,” Pikos said. “Whenever I come in to work, I’m happy to see the robot.”

Rosenberg Advanced Robotics Fact Box

The advanced robot equipped with new Moonflower software and a camera system at Magna’s Rosenberg Transmission System facility:

-Works 24/7 without breaks

-Can handle part diameters from 25mm to 172mm

-Can handle more than 1,000 kilos or 2,204 pounds per shift

-Programmed to handle over 50 different parts for six- speed manual and hybrid transmissions

-95% efficient

-Allows people to move on to more challenging jobs

Daddy Works with Robots

How easy is it to understand Magna’s advanced manufacturing robots equipped with the new Moonflower software and a camera system?

Easy enough for a 4-year-old, according to Christian Spengler, the process planner at Magna’s Rosenberg Transmission Systems facility in Germany who is responsible for setting up the plant’s latest robot. The Rosenberg plant is one of 10 Magna facilities worldwide slated for the initial rollout of the new technology.

“I try to explain to my son, Philipp, what daddy does every day,” said Spengler. “I tell him daddy works with robots. Last Christmas, he got a new toolkit and we built a car and a construction crane. I used the camera on my mobile phone and put some parts on the ground, and explained that the robot in my plant has special software and a camera. The software recognizes the part. Then, the robot grips it and puts it in the basket. I think he understood, even though he’s only four.”

Spengler adds: “The point is Moonflower software is very easy to handle and set up.”

The advanced robot that operates behind a fence is programmed to handle different parts for a six-speed manual and hybrid transmission. Spengler created a separate Moonflower program with instructions for the robot on how to grip each part.

“It takes two minutes to program each one and the new type of part is ready to operate,” said Spengler, a mechanical engineer who worked on the assembly line early in his career and understands the challenges faced by shop-floor employees.

He adds: “I know how people on the line feel. It’s absolutely necessary to automate processes to save jobs, to improve costs, and to get more products in the factory. This new technology gives employees more support and frees them up to do better jobs working on new machines that produce parts for hybrid transmissions.”

Spengler calls the new advanced manufacturing technology “exciting and satisfying.”

“It’s easy to use and easy to understand,” he said. “You don’t have to be a software engineer to use Moonflower.”

But you should be at least 4-years-old.

“I haven’t shown it to my daughter Amelie,” Spengler said. “She’s only one and too young to understand what a robot is.”

Christian Spengler, with Philip and Amelie