Bridge and engineering firm Mabey has deployed cutting-edge robots in its factory in Lydney, Gloucestershire, reducing construction time and improving health and safety.
The company has invested £2.6m in the new robots which will support the manufacture of the Mabey Compact 200 (C200) – the world’s most widely used modular steel bridge.
As well as ensuring Mabey’s C200 bridging system is manufactured more quickly, safely and efficiently, the robots will halve the manufacturing time for the C200’s panels and chords.
The factory will now have the capacity to manufacture up to 2km of steel bridging a month.
Prior to the robots, automated welding systems performed several functions in the manufacturing process, including making the panels and chords of the C200 bridges, with smaller welds being completed by hand. Panels and raw materials were also manually transported between three separate machines.
In contrast, the robots – which include one that is the first of its kind to be used in the UK for making steel bridges – form one complete cell to manufacture both chords and panels, thereby removing the intermediary steps.
Employees load the raw materials, at which point the robots take over and manoeuvre the heavier components, weld all sections together and make it ready for drilling.
Michael Treacy, chief executive of Mabey Bridge, said: “Now operational, our investment in the next generation of industrial robotics demonstrates our commitment to investing in and accelerating our own manufacturing and construction processes.
“Significantly, the robots reduce manual lifting and handling while ensuring the quality, and consistency of our products – all part of our broader aim to maintain a faster, safer and more efficient way of working.”