Australian manufacturer replaces workforce with robot

Australian company Shamic Sheetmetal in Victoria has cut wage costs after installing a Finn-Power Night Train FMS ‘ lights out’ robotic manufacturing system.

Night TrainShamic Sheetmetal manufactures wood and gas log fire heaters and general sheetmetal products purchased the Night Train FMS because it allows sheetmetal fabrication plants to run shifts that are practically unmanned. The Finn-Power Night Train FMS is completely automated, from the point of taking a blank from a pallet to where it emerges as a finished component at the other end of the production system.

So complete is the level of software-driven automation that a night shift can be run without any active personnel present.

Managing director of Shamic Sheetmetal, Eric Woodgate says the Night Train system allows the Australian manufacturer to compete with the low labour costs of China.

“We have long-standing success manufacturing heating appliances in a country where it is a major challenge to succeed with 100 percent domestic manufacturing,” said Mr Woodgate.

“Night train FMS is a high-technology with some transition period but we are heading where we want to be and are now far more competitive against China.

“I believe it can do all the work we have traditionally been doing in half the time, so therefore easily increasing our capacity.”

“This investment has opened up an avenue to work around the clock without overtime. It makes sure we keep all our current staffing jobs, allows us to up skill them, and gives us a night shift which returns extremely good profit.”

“I believe this is the only way the Australian fabricators can remain competitive against low-cost labour economies in Asia.”

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