Robot became the ‘employee’ that helped a small subcontractor grow

Universal Robots

Having worked in industry for 10 years, Jesper Larsen decided to go it alone. In April 2016, he set up Vivo Production, invested in two CNC machines and single-handedly established a very successful subcontracting business. Output ranged from batch production through to prototypes, typically for the wind power and offshore industries.

As his reputation grew, so did his order intake. Jesper Larsen began to struggle keeping pace with demand. The purchase of another CNC machine was already planned so he wanted to avoid the cost of bringing more people into the business, at least in the short term. The helping-hand he chose instead was a Universal Robot UR10.

“I toyed with the idea of getting a robot to load parts into the machine rather than hiring someone,” Jesper Larsen explained. “So, I opted for a cheaper CNC machine and a UR10 for machine tending. It’s like an extra operator feeding blanks into the machine.”

When working on larger batches, the UR10 robot runs non-stop from 7:00 to 23:00 hours and during times of very high demand, even operates over the weekend. The robot arm automatically shuts down when it is out blanks, awaiting Jesper Larsen’s arrival to re-fill the loading station.

“It never gets tired, works around the clock and offers many other advantages too,” Jesper Larsen continued. “There is no need for safety guarding and the robot is so flexible, I can re-set it for different components and even completely different tasks.”

Within a year, the UR10 robot installed at Vivo Production had paid for itself. It provided a highly cost-effective stepping stone for Jesper Larsen to grow his business without the need to immediately recruit staff.

Thanks to that prudent decision the company has continued to grow and now has four employees, more CNC machines, a wider customer base and a constant stream of new orders.