WAVERLY, IA—United Equipment Accessories (UEA), a manufacturer of slip rings, rotary unions and other motion control components, will deploy Microfactories from Bright Machines Inc. at its assembly plant here.

Microfactories are designed to be flexible, modular and scalable. Microfactories are created by combining one or more Bright Robotic Cells (BRCs) to form an automated assembly line. Two cell sizes are available, the BRC70 and BRC35, and they can be used together on the same line. Each BRC has a standard configuration that includes the chassis, electrical cabinet, robot, power supply and touch screen display.

“Whereas traditional automation takes a hardware-first approach, we take a software-first approach. We set up our modules with software, we configure them with software, we run them with software, and we analyze and optimize their performance with software,” says Stevan Dobrasevic, product marketing director at automation start-up Bright Machines.

The BRC70 has an internal volume of 70 cubic feet and can accommodate a maximum pallet size of 700 by 560 millimeters. It’s equipped with a Fanuc LR Mate 200iD/7L six-axis robot with a maximum payload of 7 kilograms. The BRC35 has an internal volume of 35 cubic feet and can accommodate a maximum pallet size of 700 by 450 millimeters. It’s equipped with a Nachi EZ03 four-axis SCARA robot with a maximum payload of 3 kilograms. Either cell can accommodate an assembly as tall as 250 millimeters and weighing up to 15 kilograms (including the pallet).

Founded in 1952, UEA is a family-run business whose products are used by equipment manufacturers worldwide in a variety of industries, including wind energy, agriculture, entertainment, and oil and gas.

“We’re thrilled to support manufacturers like UEA, who want to quickly scale up their operations by taking advantage of modern manufacturing solutions that provide higher ROI, lower cost and more flexibility vs. other alternatives,” says Amar Hanspal, CEO and co-founder of Bright Machines.

“Partnering with Bright Machines is our first venture into automation, and we couldn’t be more pleased about the prospects their technology presents,” adds Marty Meyer, director of operations at UEA. “We’ve been impacted by the decreased availability of skilled labor in the U.S. By using Bright Machines to automate high precision, but repetitive, component assembly tasks, our existing staff is now free to perform more advanced operations. Bright Machines is helping us increase our capacity, while simultaneously ensuring exceptional quality and consistent throughput.”

UEA expects the Microfactories to be up and running this fall.