Automation Adoption for SMEs - Image 1
Case Study

Automation Adoption for SMEs: CBE+

Project challenges

The MTC has partnered with Chesterfield-based SME CBE+ to support the business on its journey towards implementing automation and robotics. Following the Automation Journey, the MTC has helped CBE+ specify an automated system which will help meet growing demand for its products and services.

Business challenge

  • Process Innovation


  • Electrification

Technology or capability

  • Automation & Robotics

Process Development

The Automation Journey is an initiative by the MTC to provide impartial expert advice and guidance on the automation journey for manufacturers in the UK. Through this journey, The MTC aims to develop informed automation clients who can implement future successful projects independent of their support.

Automation Journey Image 1

CBE+ have been really great to work with. We’ve been able to work through the requirements with them so that we can produce the best possible solution and hopefully we will be able to build on that relationship in the future and bring more technologies to CBE+

James Owens - MTC

The Challenge

The primary challenges that CBE+ was looking to address were in relation to the volume of parts being processed. The business wanted a robotic system to help with loading and unloading nickel plating lines, as large orders from customers in new sectors have driven the need to explore new ways of working. The current task of loading and unloading parts is repetitive and not the best use of employees’ time, with some colleagues picking parts from a box and placing them on a rack for entire shifts. It is also physically demanding, with a lot of physical movement required to load the rack. An automated system was needed to improve efficiencies of the task, reduce the manual labour required, further increase health and safety standards and better maximise the skillset of CBE+ Staff.

A Collaborative Approach

The Automation Journey is a process followed by the MTC for bringing robotics and automation into a business. Following these steps, MTC engineers can support manufacturers with impartial advice and proven methods to ensure the right technologies are used and the business case is clear.

The process began with a line walk, where CBE+ demonstrated its production processes, before the MTC then helped to identify applications and opportunities for automation.

Next, the conceptualisation phase encourages the team to think about what could possibly be done to bring a robot into its existing processes. Once the concept with CBE+ was established, a business case was then put together to understand whether there was enough of a financial incentive for moving forwards with implementing a robotics system.

The MTC has introduced us to the different technologies available in terms of robots and handling. They have helped us identify various options in terms of picking and placing the parts, they have given us impartial advice and introduced us to a number of potential suppliers and equipment.

Chris Brown - CBE+

Automation Adoption CBE+ Video
The Outcome

This project has seen the MTC help with initial research in demystifying the options available and building the business case.

The MTC has worked to collate the requirements for the new system and approached a number of robot integrators and machine builders who can offer a solution to meet the requirements of CBE+. After receiving quotes from these suppliers, the MTC aided in understanding the options and selecting the right solution for CBE+.

Based on the success of the project, CBE+ envisages a longer-term partnership working with the MTC to introduce automation into other sectors of its factory.

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