Symbio Robotics’ technology helped Ford reduce cycle time by 15 percent over the previous method of assembling torque converters into transmissions, according to the automaker
May 3, 2021
EMERYVILLE, Calif.— Assembly of transmissions is notoriously complex. Previously, operators installed heavy transmission components, such as torque converters, manually—a challenging process from an ergonomics and safety standpoint. In recent years, the process was automated.
Symbio Robotics, a company aiming to pioneer the next frontier of manufacturing through a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and industrial robotics, is trying to give that process an exponential boost. Symbio recently worked with Ford Motor Company to deploy an AI-controlled robot at the automaker’s Livonia Transmission Plant. The robot is programmed and managed with Symbio’s robot-agnostic platform, SymbioDCS, to assemble transmissions for the Bronco Sport, Escape, and Edge, among others.
Symbio is helping Ford to control the robot with AI that more efficiently installs components into the transmission based on the large amounts of data it has collected. This new process allows the robot to predict how it should assemble components in the next transmission based on its previous performance.
“Symbio’s focus is on delivering technology that allows companies like Ford to adopt AI as a core competency,” said Max Reynolds, Symbio CEO and co-founder, in a release. “AI-enabled automation looks very different. It’s not just about automation—it’s about providing tools that empower automation teams to deploy and maintain more general, flexible systems.”
Symbio builds automation that enables human-machine collaboration. Its technology is designed to fundamentally reframe existing manufacturing pain points by using the best practices of AI, human robot interaction, and the programmers who are already working in these environments. Through the use of AI applied by people, the robots quickly learn and execute tasks increasing efficiency, improving quality, and reducing ergonomic hazards, Symbio said in the release.
“As the mobility landscape continues to rapidly change, there is an increasing demand for much faster product life cycles,” said Harry Kekedjian, advanced controls and digital factory manager at Ford, in the release. “Using the Symbio technology, we’ve observed a 15 percent improvement in cycle time and greater than 50 percent reduction in adapting to new products over the previous manufacturing method.”
Symbio Robotics (https://symbio.io), founded in 2014, is dedicated to strengthening and revamping the fundamentals in industrial manufacturing through the creation of Al and robotics technologies. The company’s core product, SymbioDCS, is said to enable automation teams to “build and deploy high-quality applications in any factory, at any scale, that can assemble anything.”