November 22, 2021

PolarFormic400x275Polar Hardware, which manufactures door and truck body hardware, announced it chose Formic’s robotics-as-a-service system to automate for the first time in 105 years of business. Formic partnered with DesignHawk from Chicago to engineer a machine tending system, which leverages a Universal Robot URe collaborative robot (cobot) to automate Polar’s press brake application.

The company said it was struggling to meet its production goals and fill orders, and decided to turn to an automation solution. “If Polar didn’t automate, we would be out of business,” said Jose Figuerao, the plant manager at Polar. “We cannot compete if we cannot produce.”

Polar said it turned to Formic to deliver customized robots at a low hourly rate with no money upfront and guaranteed uptime after it researched other automation options. The Formic service includes planning, deployment and maintenance capabilities.

“It’s been very painless,” said Bob Albert, owner of Polar. “We like the company we chose. THey don’t just set us up and walk away. And that to me is very key. They charge us by the hour for the machine, which is a very novel approach. And if the machine’s not running, we aren’t paying for it. So if something goes wrong, they’re going t be right over here to fix it.”

Formic cobot 400pxFormic said the machine tending system can produce 750 parts per 10 hours, and is expected to save Polar about $77,000 per year in labor costs. The company can monitor system performance from the platform, which also delivers analytics on system performance in real time.

Polar has signed another contract with Formic to add a spot welding robot into their facility, as well as considering moving from a two-shift to a three shift operation, allowing the cobots to run around the clock. With both systems, Polar said it expects to save about $150,000 per year in operation costs.

Formed in September 2020, Formic is a “one-stop -shop for automation.” The Chicago-based company delivers customized robots at a low hourly rate with no money upfront and guaranteed updatime. More details are available at the Formic website.