Marlin Steel Wire

The Business:

Marlin Steel is a leading manufacturer of custom-engineered products of steel wire and sheet metal, in production runs ranging from a few dozen to thousands. The company boasts a diverse array of machine tools for different operations, within a flexible manufacturing environment.

The Challenge:

Traditional robots could not be integrated into Marlin’s operation without taking over a machine tool totally and permanently, which would sacrifice flexibility – the ability to change production specs, parts, and tasks as needed, and would be disruptive to Marlin’s business model.

Figure 1. The TaskMate tending to a metal bending task on a Trumpf TruPress 3120.

The Solution:

The TaskMate R5, a combination of an industry leading collaborative robot arm and READY Robotics’ easy-to-use programming interface. This plug-and-play system enabled what, until now, small-to-medium-sized manufacturers like Marlin have been unable to achieve: the power, efficiency, and consistency of robotics without the expected limitations, costs, or down time in set-up. Instead of weeks setting up a robot, running cables, wiring in grippers and sensors, and fencing off valuable machine tools, Marlin wheeled their TaskMate R5 up to a press brake bender, and had it cranking out a 10,000 part run in under eight hours. Equipped with force and vision sensors, the TaskMate even responds to dynamic events on the factory floor.

“I set up the on board camera to detect if the parts did not bend properly. If it pictures a no-bend, it automatically pauses, allows the operator to fix the problem, hit resume and it will try bending again.” – Brent Fox, floor manager

And the R.Find alignment system allows the TaskMate to be oriented to different machine tools around the factory utilizing an alignment socket for each machine tool. So the TaskMate only needs to be trained once for each job to be done – then it can be set up and ready to go again on any task it has done previously in less than 15 minutes.

Figure 2. The TaskMate waiting for a wire form to come out of the Ultimat wire bending machine.

The Results:

To date, Marlin has their TaskMate trained on three machine tools: two press brake benders and an automatic wire-bending machine. Each time they receive orders for thousands of parts, the TaskMate is wheeled over and put to work in minutes. The TaskMate does the tedious tasks, freeing up Marlin’s valuable machinists to fill more complex, higher-value orders.



“Marlin Steel needs to be nimble to address fast paced automotive and pharmaceutical plant demands for quick, high-quality-shipment. Ready Robotics provides a tool that enables Marlin Steel to hit impossible dates because we can set it up and run small and medium run jobs on a variety of machines. The quick set up is a life saver.” – Drew Greenblatt, President, Marlin Steel