Can SMEs Afford Cobots?


Collaborative robots deliver 40% growth and round the clock manufacturing at New Engineering Works.

  • Client


  • Services

    for CNC machine tending.

  • Technologies


  • Dates




In an effort to keep up with the market, automotive component manufacturer New Engineering Works deployed their first collaborative robot for CNC machine tending in 2016. The manufacturer installed 6 cobots within 18 months and has seen remarkable results, realising a 40% growth rate and the ability to manufacture 24x7. The cobots have been seamlessly included in New Engineering Works’ production processes, leading to cost reduction and increase in productivity and efficiency.


The challenge

New Engineering Works experienced a continuous increase in demand for hydraulic, pneumatic and engine components for commercial vehicles and realised the need to automate repetitive production tasks. The company, however, had limited space and did not want large machines with limited output occupying their shop floor. New Engineering Works was looking for an agile, automation solution that would facilitate the addition of a third 8-hour shift, thereby enabling them to manufacture round the clock.


New Engineering Works installed their first cobot in 2016 and has purchased 6 cobots within a span of 18 months. The company has a small and large components division, with collaborative robots being perfect for the small components division.


Each of the cobots fit perfectly between 2 CNC machines, occupying limited space on the shop floor while facilitating the tending of 12 CNC machines at a time. They are as easy as using a smartphone – hassle-free, and easy to program and set up. The workers have learnt to operate UR cobots with no prior training.


New Engineering Works has seen a 40% growth in production since deployment of cobots in their manufacturing plant. The manufacturer is now able to run 24x7, thanks to cobots enabling a third 8-hour shift, thereby skyrocketing their productivity. The cobots work side-by-side with humans on the shop floor, enabling safe and efficient production. The installation of cobots has led to automation of processes and reduced the cost per component.


“Investing in cobots does not mean I am letting go of my workforce – rather, I am training them to deliver more meaningful work like quality checks, handle Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs), and inspection,” said Managing Partner at New Engineering Works, Binod Kumar Agarwal, who can now explore more business opportunities. He encourages more SMEs to include cobots in their manufacturing processes: “Cobots opens up a lot more opportunities, they are affordable for the small-scale industry and deliver a great RoI.”


“Being an SME, land is a valuable asset for us. Traditional industrial robots with their required fencing take up a lot of space on the shop floor. UR cobots fit between 2 machines in the factory and we can just plug-and-play as required. We have used the cobots for a year and a half now and it has been a great experience. There is no better robot in the country than UR cobots for our small components division.”


The Product

New Engineering Works is an SME that was started in 1996. It has been in the manufacturing of hydraulic, pneumatic, engine and brake components for commercial vehicles. Aside from numerous medium-scale companies, New Engineering Works also manufactures components for some of India’s largest automotive giants, including Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, and Brakes India.


Collaborative Robots – Fast Paced Growth


Global Collaborative Robot market is anticipated to reach $5,441.5 million by 2023, according to BIS Research Report.


Collaborative robot market is anticipated to exhibit fast-paced growth during the forecast period 2018-2023. In the recent years, there have been several new product launches in the market, and a collaborative robot market has undergone a paradigm shift on the technological aspect.


Furthermore, the prices of collaborative robots have also declined substantially which have resulted in a quick return on investment and cost-effective performance of these robots. The demand for collaborative robots across several industries has witnessed a significant rise in the recent years, and the trend is anticipated to continue in the next few years, owing to their high accuracy and declining cost.


The rising number of industries moving to automation across emerging nations and robotic application gaining traction is expected to open several new opportunities for the collaborative robot market in the years to come.


The major industries where collaborative robots are used include includes automotive, electrical, electronics & semiconductor, plastics & polymers, pharma & chemistry, food & beverage, aerospace & defense, metal & machining, others, among others. Major applications where collaborative robots are used include material handling, small parts assembly, CNC machine tending, moulding operations, test & inspection, gluing, dispensing, welding, packaging & palletising, screw driving, and polishing, among others.


Collaborative robots are used in industries to perform applications, such as assembly, pick & place, packaging & palletizing, machine tending, screw driving, among others. Some of the features, such as the capability to be used alongside humans, easy installation and operation, and lower cost when compared with conventional industrial robots, set the collaborative robots apart from the traditional robot.


With all these additional benefits, collaborative robots also provide enhanced process efficiency and unmatched cost reduction. Therefore, the demand for collaborative robots has shot up, especially in the last decade. In the past two to three years the industry has witnessed several new product launches from traditional industrial robot manufacturers. These product launches underline a clear shift undergoing in the robotics industry where collaborative robots are emerging as the next big thing.