Closure Systems International Inc. (CSI), one of the world’s largest supplier of closures for consumer and industrial products, has been able to solve labor challenges and boost its overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) thanks to an increased reliance on automation.

After struggling with the increasing demand for its innovative closure solutions, CSI CEO Floyd Needham knew his company needed a viable way to increase his equipment’s effectiveness.

“Our lines produce 2,200 caps in a minute. You want them to run 24/7, but if an operator doesn’t show up, you may have unplanned downtime,” said Needham.

Before transitioning to a more automated operations process, CSI’s equipment was experiencing as much as 10% downtime, where the OEE goal for the company was 2.5%. Thanks to Motion Controls Robotics Inc. (MCRI) and its use of FANUC robotics, CSI was able to move on from its labor-intensive manual manufacturing process and boost its overall efficiency.

MCRI focused on CSI’s multiple-step cap manufacturing process, which consists of erecting cases, placing bags inside cases, moving and filling cases, sealing and inspecting cases, and preparing cases for shipment.

Moving toward the automation of this meticulous process allowed CSI workers to focus on higher-skilled jobs while also increasing production, but the journey did not come without its unique challenges.

Space immediately raised concerns.

“The amount of space that we needed for the equipment did not exist,” said Roger Sorg, Regional Sales Manager for MCRI.

Because CSI must produce four different types of cases, it needed four different machines, with each machine tied to a different case. With this in mind, though, MCRI used the FANUC M-20iA/35M robot, which was able to erect all four cases seamlessly.

“We can make four times of boxes in basically a quarter of the space of what four machines would have been needed previously,” said Steve Doyle, Automation Technician for CSI.

Additionally, the automation of tape detection also presented a challenge. If the tape is not applied correctly, then the product becomes subject to stability and safety concerns.

MCRI was able to alleviate these concerns, though, with a FANUC LR Mate robot, which has specialized sensors on the end of its arm that are able to inspect the case in four different locations and ensure that the tape is applied correctly.

CSI’s automation makeover also impacted pallet stacking. Using a FANUC M-410iC/315 robot on a Gudel rail, MCRI was able to distribute products to 34 different stack locations and transport them to a wrapping station.

“The stacks needed to have a pallet underneath of them,” explained Eric Hohman, MCRI’s Lead Programmer. “We used a FANUC M-410iB/140 to place a pallet on a conveyor along with a slip sheet. The stack was placed on top of the pallet using an autonomous guided vehicle or AGV.”

Thanks to its use of FANUC robots, MCRI’s fit with CSI felt perfect.

“FANUC was actually a key decision point on why we picked MCRI,” said Needham. “Because of the reputation and experience of FANUC and their ability to service us locally and be available 24/7.

As for the results of CSI’s move toward automation, the company was able to reach its goal of 2.5% downtime in around six months and increase its monthly output by 25%.

And this is just the beginning, as the plant is set to double its capacity in the near future.

“Having the automation and robotics system does give you a level of confidence that you'll be able to staff that line and deliver a product to your customer on time,” said Needham.

To learn more, please visit the following websites:

Closure Systems International:

FANUC America: 

Motion Controls Robotics Inc.: