Worldwide leader of orthopedic medical device design and manufacturing enables large scale automation not previously thought possible, deploying many dormant robots in the process.


The Business

Tier 1 Medical Device Manufacturer “MedDevCo” is a worldwide leader of orthopedic medical device outsourcing, providing contract design and manufacturing services for highly demanding applications such as medical implants.


Tending 3-axis and 5-axis CNC Mills (Haas and ROBODRILL)

The Challenge

With strong and growing sales in expanding medical applications, “MedDevCo” has a problem many would love to have: the challenge of meeting swelling demand. However, because of labor shortages, it is difficult to scale their manufacturing to meet that demand. Like many manufacturers, this problem is much more real than those outside the space would realize. In an attempt to bridge the labor gap through automation by investing in a fleet of robots, “MedDevCo” was still unable to increase their output. The automation implementation projects could not be completed because of a lack of time to implement the automation as well as train their staff in complex robot programming. Until READY Robotics.

The Solution

“MedDevCo” had decided to solve their labor shortage through automation. However, this solution was easier said than done. When “MedDevCo” engaged READY, they had seven Universal Robots (UR) on the plant floor. Only one was operational – due to the time, cost and complexity of setup. The six remaining robots still sat idle (or in boxes) for months.

Why hadn’t “MedDevCo” integrated the additional robots? Without a trained programmer on staff, they had to rely on an outside integrator. The integration project was expensive and complex, and once the robot was live, it wasn’t flexible enough to handle the changes necessary in a high-mix, low-volume environment. Even small issues or updates resulted in machine downtime because the staff wasn’t able to fix the problems on their own. As such, they needed to call their outside integrator whenever a change was needed.

“MedDevCo” wanted a better solution. One with a fast deployment. One that gave them line flexibility. One that would help them future-proof their business and productivity. One that could deliver on the promises of automation, not create more headaches. So, “MedDevCo” integrated a Forge/Ctrl running Forge/OS into the live production cell. Forge/OS includes READY’s award winning visual programming application, Task Canvas, that enables “MedDevCo” to program, and maintain, the UR robots on their own. It took just one day to integrate, and one more day to train the “MedDevCo” team to program and modify the robot movements on their own. With an easy-to-use visual workflow that makes programming robots accessible to almost anyone, Task Canvas was so empowering, that within a matter of days “MedDevCo”’s workers had expanded on the READY integration, further customizing the robot to better suit their specific needs. Not only was the robot running better than ever, it could now be quickly and easily optimized by a number of their own workers.


The Results

The plant manager says that of the half dozen robots they have, the only one making him money is the one with Forge/OS since it is the only one they like to use. The General Manager appreciates the simplicity of Forge/OS. They can now easily train power users on site and then the workers can manage the robots themselves, without an outside integrator. Based on the success of the first integration, it was an easy decision for “MedDevCo” to use Forge/OS to control the 6 remaining robots. It took two weeks for them to integrate the remaining robots and now they can maintain the automated work cells on their own.

Based on the resounding success of their plant integration, within 2 months “MedDevCo” had rolled out Forge/OS to three of their other US plants. And this is just the beginning. Machines that were sitting idle for at least one or two shifts, were now delivering high-spec tools for orthopedic surgeries. Workers that once feared automation, are more productive than ever, and are now spending more time on high-value tasks than ever before. The automation solution augmented their workforce by upskilling their workers to manage a fleet of robots.

READY Robotics’ Forge/Ctrl running Forge/OS and the Task Canvas instantly changed everyone’s perspective on what a large-scale deployment of robotic automation could look like. “MedDevCo” has proven to the larger organization that automation no longer has to be complex and expensive.

“MedDevCo” Automates First Cell in 2 Days – Programming Including. 6 Follow-On Cells Automated in 2 Weeks.