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Client: Unitrunk
Knowledge Provider: Northern Regional College
Sector: Advanced Engineering


Unitrunk (Lisburn) designs and manufactures cable management solutions which embody innovation, technical expertise and quality.

Unitrunk Unitrunk With over 50 years experience in serving local and international markets, Unitrunk offer an extensive range of trunking, cable tray, cable ladder, channel and support systems together with innovative design solutions.

About the Case

Unitrunk identified an area of production as being labour intensive - the folding of components that make up the corner pieces and connecting boxes. These are made in batches of hundreds/thousands at a time. The operation of folding these parts has been done on small but very fast press brakes, manually operated with a high degree of efficiency.
Unitrunk wanted to replace these press-brakes, as they were coming to the end of their productive life, and replace them with an automated cell to reduce operating cost while improving safety.
Following initial contact, the company was invited to NRC to view new equipment recently acquired under the European KITE project; part of that capital spend was a Bystronic Press-brake and ABB Robot. Having seen parts being folded on the college’s robot attended press-brake they were impressed with the capabilities of the system compared to automated folding machines; however, for it to be viable the cycle time of each component need to be with 25% of the manual operation and the loading and unloading of the cell to be self-sufficient and integrated with the production line.
It was decided that NRC would investigate these areas for development along with proving the system’s capabilities for larger components.

About the Knowledge Provider

Northern Regional College Manufacturing Engineering Department has enjoyed good industrial relations with many of the local manufacturing companies. All of the lecturing staff within the department have come from an industrial background.
Alan Reid, who looked after this Unitrunk project has had considerable experience with Robotic systems and has managed several projects for FG Wilson and Powerscreen, introducing them to Robotic Welding.
NRC has several industrial sized robots with the latest being integrated to a Press-brake, this is proving to be an area of considerable interest for local fabricators as they can see the potential of being able to automate their process.

The Results

NRC was able to offer a lecturer, the college equipment, and, in conjunction with the company, was able to provide real and accurate details on the capability of such an operation over a period of 6 weeks.
This information has proved invaluable to the company in the early stages of the development of a new business model and planning for the future. They now have the confidence to adopt Robotic Press-brake Tending and have purchased a turnkey system to be integrated into their production line.
Contact Details of Knowledge Provider:

Knowledge Provider Name: Northern Regional College
Contact Name: Alan Reid
Telephone number: 028 2566 4249

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