How to produce more tattoo needles at the same quality
When you are facing a growing demand in your product, what can you do to keep up with demand without compromising the quality you are famous for? This is exactly the situation that MT.Derm found itself in. The world’s top producer of high-end tattoo needles turned to IMS for help in automating its production. This is what we did.
A growing demand for high-quality tattoo needles means German manufacturer MT. Derm is doing well. A little bit too well, meaning that its partly manual production process is unable to keep up with the volumes and quality the market demands.
Automation seems like the logical solution to both problems, but first there are some challenges to be overcome, calling for a tailor-made approach.
- MT. Derms wish to produce 60 distinct tattoo needles
- Manufacturing processes and cycle times differ per product
- The quality of parts and components is not constant, meaning some of the end products must be discarded.
- Contracts with the operators for manual production will not be extended, calling for timely implementation of the automation.
The transition from manual to automated will take place in two phases. In the first phase, subassembly of the product will be automated. In the second phase, the whole product will be automated, incorporating the new processes from the first phase.
Our engineers found a ProMicro standard production platform the best solution. This production platform is modular, consisting of modules and units, and can easily be adapted to produce a different series of products – tattoo needles, in this case.
A preview of the production line is shown below.
Configuring a new process on the production lineo can be done within 4 hours, while adding a production module may be completed in just one day. Changing grippers and tooling is a 10-minute job. All these features make the production line ideal for the manufacturing of many different products, which was one of the challenges MT. Derm faced.
In batches of 12, each needle type is led through the different steps in the production process, allowing for a cycle time of one second. An extra step in the process enables workers to check tattoo needles for quality. Steps in the process include:
- Led by a vision system, a Fanuc Delta robot picks the products from a turntable and places these in the 12-fold fixture.
- The robot cleans the products by air.
- The batch is checked for correctness and quality.
- Glue is applied in 12-fold to the products in the fixture.
The first phase, in which subassembly of the product was automated, is a success. The products are manufactured according to the requirements for volume and quality.
The production line that IMS installed is now ready to move into the second phase. By simply adding one extra platform to the existing production line, MT. Derm will enjoy a reliable and future-proof solution for the production of their high-quality tattoo needle types.
By working with platforms as opposed to with a second production line, IMS offers its clients a number of distinct advantages:
- Training costs are lower
Since engineers and operators are familiar with their own production line, adding a production module and learning to operate it takes less time than learning to use a completely new production line.
- Less floor space required
Adding a ProMicro platform instead of installing a second production line means there is space left for more production lines when demand increases even more.
- Flexibility in product types
The production line can be expanded when required. What is now a 60-product catalogue can easily be increased to a 100-product collection (or bigger).
Investing in an add-on process module or production module requires a smaller investment than investing in a new production line.
- Minimal downtime
Switching to a new product can be realised in a half-day to one-day period. Some adaptations can be executed offline.
What can we do for you?
You have read how we have helped MT.Derm meet the increased demand in their product. Are you curious to see how your own brand can ramp up its production? IMS engineers are delighted to help you find the most efficient solution, adapted to your (and your target market’s) needs. Please get in touch for a consultation, free of any obligation.