Manufacturing Today - Spring 2011 - (Page 92)

JR Automation Technologies LLC / Sales: $60 million / HQ: Holland, Mich. / Employees: 210 / Scot Lindemann, VP of operations: “We have methodologies we bring to the table to solve problems, but we don’t have standard products.” jr automation developed this door panel trim assembly cell that can handle a variety of doors. don’t have standard products.” Director of Sales Jim Kramer adds that JR Automation’s goal is not to “sell a machine – we want to sell a manufacturing solution. One-third of our staff is degreed engineers – we look upstream and downstream of the project to consider workflow, acting as part of the manufacturing engineering team. We are looking at the whole process, not just one portion of it, to ensure that all operations and material flow fit together.” Automation Solutions Many customers of JR Automation Technologies are seeking manufacturing solutions flexible enough to produce several different products in the same cell. “Instead of large batches of parts, many manufacturers want to run small batches with high flexibility,” Kramer says. These solutions often require a combination of robotics and flexible tooling to accomplish a complex task that the customer was not even sure could be automated successfully. Some flexible solutions use robotic vision systems to identify part type, orientation and position on a feed system, so multiple parts can be sent through the same automation cell and assembled into a product with no changeover. Another solution might enable a robot to set one tool aside and pick up another without operator intervention. Once a solution is identified, JR Automation then purchases items such as robots, cylinders, control devices and linear bearings, among others, to build a custom system from standard components. “It is our desire to use standard components where possible and invent where required to provide solutions that give our customers a competitive advantage,” Kramer asserts. One proprietary system in development on JR Automation’s shop floor assembles a medical device. Custom Solutions finding a solution that meets customers’ needs has kept jr automation going strong. by russ gager When getting financial advice, an advisor who is unaffiliated with any particular financial company might be able to offer the most impartial counsel. The same is true when a company is considering factory automation solutions. Like any good advisor, JR Automation’s first step with a client is to listen, rather than pushing off-theshelf solutions on them. “We start by finding out what our customers’ requirements are, even helping them to develop those requirements when necessary. The resulting solution can be anything from a simple stand-alone station to full-on automation,” Vice President 92 SPRING 2011 of Operations Scot Lindemann relates. “We don’t fit their problem into what we do – we fit our solution to their particular problem.” As an example, he says, companies that make conveyor systems or dial tables might suggest their product as the automation solution – even if another would be more appropriate. “They try to make every solution fit in their toolbox,” Lindemann observes. “Our toolbox is broad – we aren’t invested in any one product – so it gives us advantages. Our niche is developing automated solutions that match our customer’s needs. “We have methodologies we bring to the table to solve problems, but we

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - Spring 2011

Manufacturing Today - Spring 2011
Business Value
Supply Chain
Patriot Forge Co.
Reading Bakery Systems
The South African Mint Co.
GCX Corp.
Jay Industries Inc.
Johnson Electric Coil Co.
Certified Transmission
Olhausen Billiards
Pace Industrues
RTI Claro
The Testor Corp.
Restonic Matresses
Advanced Automation
Anadigics Inc.
Hermes Cones & Snack Manufacturers
JR Automation Technologies LLC
Prodomax Automation Inc.
Stafford Manufacturing Corp.
New England Ropes
Berger Paints Trinidad Ltd.
Air Tractor
Artisans Inc.
Bermingham Foundation Solutions
Bowers Manufacturing Co.
Ferti Technologies
Industrial Acoustics
Morton Industries
Presstek Inc.
Ranco Fertiservice Inc.
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Manufacturing Today - Spring 2011