ShopBot in Production & Manufacturing

ShopBot Tools are Ready-Made for Lean Production and Manufacturing

Manufacturing today is about agility. To be competitive, companies must be able to rapidly adapt production to changing customer needs and adjust production flow to shifting priorities. Product changes come fast and furious – and you need tools that respond to these demands with intuitive configurability, flexibility, mobility, and ease of use for your personnel. These tools are ShopBots.

Whether you call it “lean” manufacturing, “cellular” production, or “just-in-time” fabrication, the logic and efficiencies of methods developed by Japanese auto manufacturers that focus on agility are now appreciated as key to the success for both small and large businesses in a globally competitive world. Robotics and automation are important for production, but robotic capabilities need to be integrated into the cellular approach. For this they must be adaptable, flexible, and somewhat mobile. ShopBots help manufacturers move away from traditional, capital intensive CNC equipment that is enterprise-centric and thus inflexible -- a likely bottleneck for production -- to CNC equipment that can affordably be distributed to multiple production operations where it is easily reconfigured to exactly match the task needs of each cell.

CNC Production Flow

ShopBots are being used in production, from Boeing's F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet to WoodMode's custom cabinets. Three-axis or 5-axis operations from drilling and trimming to more complex milling or machining are easily customized and incorporated into cellular production. Ease of configuration means operations can often be changed, modified, or upgraded on-the-fly without the need to involve extra engineers or integrators. Flexibility, mobility, and affordability also make redundancy practical.

ShopBot’s PRSalpha gantry CNC routers offer the speed and closed-loop performance necessary for production line efficiency with costs approximately 1/10th of traditional CNC machining centers. ShopBot’s Buddy-format tools can be readily moved from one production location to another and quickly brought on line. Our 5-Axis CNC offers a large work area for cutting, drilling, and trimming operations and carving of prototype and fixture material at a fraction the cost of other 5-axis CNC equipment.

While a ShopBot does not have the stiffness and rigidity of a machine that weighs many tons, operations requiring very-high-tolerance capabilities are typically a small percentage of the operations for which CNC routers are used. For tasks such as drilling, trimming, panel processing, 3d machining or carving, a ShopBot will provide the performance and cut quality of tools five to 10 times as expensive. This performance/price ratio is the leverage that allows practical multiple cell-based operations that will improve your bottom line.

Think of it like the relationship between mainframe computers and personal computers (PCs). Yes, there are tasks and functions appropriate for the capabilities of large mainframe computers, for which they are still used; however, it has been the workstation PC that brought the real power of computers to business and manufacturing processes because they are used by individuals across the organization. In a similar manner, distributed CNC workstations leverage automation across operations to accomplish lean manufacturing. Distributed CNC is now an achievable reality because of the remarkable production speeds of the ShopBot PRTalpha tools coupled with their low price point. ShopBots offer a right-sized, flexible solution for many production situations.

  • Easily configured for various production operations [ShopBot’s Windows-based, six-axis Control System Software is open syntax architecture and highly programmable, and can be customized for a wide range of production system needs]
  • ShopBots can be fitted with high frequency spindles, double Z-axes, tool-changers, pneumatic drills, rotary indexers and vacuum hold-down systems; Choose from one of our standard sizes and configurations or let us custom design a tool to fit your needs
  • Highly programmable [ShopBots run from industry-standard G-code or from ShopBot PartFile code, one of the easiest to read CNC languages for operators on the shop floor (ShopBot PartFile code is output by all major CAM programs; e.g. MasterCAM, CabinetVision, VisualMill, DelCam/ArtCam, most signage programs, etc.)]
  • Set up simple, push-button interactions for your operators
  •  Inputs and outputs available for safety switches, light curtains, etc or for controlling additional devices
  • Easily integrated with your current engineering and CAM software (most major CAM systems post to ShopBots; those that don’t can be straightforwardly configured)
  • Over the last fifteen years, ShopBot has become the largest producer of affordable CNC routers simply because our tools have been reliably producing on the manufacturing floors around the world…day in, day out
  • Recognized for our unparalleled support; we also have extended maintenance, warranty, and support plans for production equipment with scheduled annual maintenance visits
  • We provide attractive shipping, installation and training arrangements

To find out if an agile ShopBot CNC is the right option for your facility, contact one of ShopBot’s Manufacturing Site Team members. We look forward to working with you to develop a high-flow production solution for your operation.

Take me to the toolsRead about ShopBots in production at BEAerospace Read about how Wood-Mode, Inc, uses ShopBots in lean cabinet manufacturing.


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