from banker to business owner

in robots @ work by Sue Sokoloski

Small machine shop that’s big on innovation

For years Terry Taggart worked for a large bank.  Then his employer announced a relocation out of Denver. His family, quite frankly, would not budge. So he decided to look for a second career and a business to buy.  He discovered a small machine shop that had been started 13 years earlier.   He was eager to enter the manufacturing industry after looking at dozens of other businesses in other industries. The idea of actually producing something at the end of the day appealed to him. So he purchased the business, and later renamed it Tag Team Manufacturing, after his family’s nickname.

Over the next 16 years, Tag Team Manufacturing grew, providing precision parts to the medical device, aerospace, photonics, and computer storage industries.  As a small business, their production was limited to prototyping and short runs.  So when one of their customers offered them a large quantity order – they knew they had to rethink their process.

Their customer’s parts required over 2 1/2 hours in the CNC machine for just the first operation. It would also require that the job run 24/7 in order to meet the delivery times.  How do you hire quickly for that?  How do you staff for the weekends? How do you manage them?  How do you make it economically viable?

He knew they needed industrial automation solutions, but thought that they couldn’t afford advanced robotics technology.  Until a friend told him about Rethink Robotics’ smart, collaborative robots. Two young machinists, with no prior robotics knowledge, were given the challenge. From the time they took their Sawyer robot out of the box, to the time they cut their first part, was less than 9 days, including building the entire work cell!

In just over 4 months, Sawyer has delivered 20,000 components, and Terry Taggart is thinking about the next big order. “It opens the door to supporting existing clients that have larger production, but also new opportunities with other companies”, says Taggart, “That’s huge.”

To see how other manufacturers are using collaborative robots on the factory floor, take a look at the Rethink Robotics video gallery. And be sure to subscribe above to receive blog post alerts delivered right to your inbox.



About the Author

Sue Sokoloski

Sue has spent the last two decades marketing for emerging technologies, building new categories, and applying science to the art of marketing. It took one look at Baxter to sign on to Rethink Robotics – a human-safe robot out to change the world. When not promoting “all things Sawyer and Baxter”, she is focused on “all things food”: where to eat it, how to prepare it, how to write another cookbook about it.

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