Friday, 30 August 2013

SMB Bearings - proud to supply EZO bearings to Universal Robots, used in robots for Volkswagen...

At SMB Bearings Ltd we are always delighted to share news from our customers, who never cease to amaze us with their innovative flair! One such customer is Danish company Universal Robots, who we supply with our EZO precision bearings. They have just shared this press release with us.

First robot collaborates directly with employees in Volkswagen plant

Car manufacturer Volkswagen backs robots from Universal Robots to promote ergonomic working processes.

Odense (Denmark)/Salzgitter, August 29, 2013 - The car manufacturing group Volkswagen has integrated an industrial robotic arm of the Danish manufacturer Universal Robots into mass production at its engine production plant in Salzgitter. The lightweight robot UR5 is installed in the cylinder head assembly section, where it is responsible for handling delicate glow plugs. What is special about this is that it is the first collaborative robot in use at Volkswagen worldwide. Due to its integrated safety mode the six-axis robotic arm is able to collaborate directly with people without any guards. It thus contributes significantly towards optimizing healthy working processes.

The Volkswagen plant in Salzgitter, with an area of 2,800,000 square metres, is one of the largest engine production plants in the world. Some 6,000 employees manufacture approximately 7,000 petrol and diesel engines in over 370 variants there every day. The 3- to 16-cylinder engines are installed in the various models and brands of the Volkswagen group. The car manufacturer recently deployed a collaborative industrial robotic arm of the Danish manufacturer, Universal Robots, with people in the cylinder head assembly section of the plant for the purpose of inserting glow plugs into the cylinder heads.

By reason of its integrated safety mode (matching Standard EN ISO 10218), the industrial robot is able to work in the close vicinity of humans. It is equipped with a collaborative gripper, which the system integrator Faude Automatisierungstechnik has developed exclusively for Volkswagen and which meets the safety requirements of ISO/TS 15066, the specification standard for collaborating robots. Thus the robot was able to be integrated into the production line without additional protective housing.

‘We would like to prevent long-term burdens on our employees in all areas of our company with an ergonomic workplace layout. By using robots without guards they can work together hand in hand with the robot. In this way, the robot becomes a production assistant in manufacture and as such can release staff from ergonomically unfavourable work’, explains Jürgen Häfner, project manager at Volkswagen’s Salzgitter plant.
The project was implemented over a period of two years in close collaboration with Universal Robots’ distributor partner Faude Automatisierungstechnik. Together, the two employees in production, which were previously responsible for fitting the glow plugs onto the cylinder heads, should be relieved of a burden. Until now they had to insert the glow plugs in a stooping posture into the scarcely visible cylinder head drill holes.

Hand in hand with a robot colleague
This step is now being taken over by the six-axis UR5 lightweight robot from Universal Robots. It carefully picks up the delicate glow plugs, which are provided by a specially designed separation system, and puts them into the hard-to-reach drill holes. An employee is then responsible for tightening the glow plugs and for insulating the cylinder head, which is required for the next step in production. Thanks to the direct joint working with the robot, which acts as an assistant, he can carry out these activities in an upright, healthy posture. In doing so, he is able to keep a constant watch over the process, so as to be able to intervene quickly when necessary.

‘We are delighted with the successful implementation of this unprecedented project and with the fact that our robots can contribute towards ergonomic work processes,’ says Thomas Visti, Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Universal Robots.

‘This was able to be accomplished mainly due to the result-oriented and constructive cooperation between Volkswagen and our partner Faude Automatisierungstechnik.’

UNIVERSAL ROBOTS A/S Universal Robots is a Danish manufacturer of industrial robots. The company was founded in 2005 with the aim of making robotics accessible to all. The result is a lighter, more flexible and more environmentally-friendly robotic arm which has revolutionised the market for industrial robots. This was hitherto dominated by large, heavy and expensive robots. Universal Robots develops and sells robotic arms which easily automate monotonous and laborious processes in the industry and make them more effective. As a result, the production shop can use employees where they really create value. Universal Robots has approximately 100 employees. Entire development and production take place at the Odense site in Denmark.

Further information about Universal Robots is available at:

Many congratulations to all at Universal Robots on this development!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Marie Bougourd (aka Spoky Woky) is on top of the world!

Marie Bougourd (aka Spoky Woky) tops the international IDF rankings...

We are so pleased that our bearings have played a part, however small, in Marie's massive success! She says "but for feed back your ceramic bearing are still super awesome ! I love them"

Why thank you, that means a great deal coming from the World Number ONE!!!

Good luck defending your title in South America Spoky Woky!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Congratulations Spoky Woky, Podium Finisher at Peyragudes...

A massive congratulations to our friend & downhill skater Spoky Woky (aka Marie Bougourd) who, despite a knee injury, managed to bag a podium finish at the IDF (international Downhill Federation) event in Peyragudes last weekend. What an AMAZING lady!!

Spoky Woky says: "Check that awesome movie about Peyragudes Finals !! That event has the most surprising event of the season for me , i was actually at the point to not attempt to it because of a knee injury at Grim Mountain , and finally Sickboard convinced me to join them just to be there and enjoy watching the race and finally my knee get better and i did it to the final and took the second place ! 
That was not even expectable for me ! 

Thank you Lisa Karina , Martijn Schrama , Annemiekje Nogwat (and congrats guuuuurllll ) , Kevin Reimer for pick me up on their way to Peyragudes , Sickboards Longboards is killing it ! Thank you Koma Kino for the event and his support . RipTide Bushings have been killing it on that track , Aera Trucks, Orangatang Wheels team always around to help , SMB Bearings can't stop to get me faster and my Classic pan still here to make me feel like home on every roads.

 It was so a huge joy to meet again my french friends which were screaming for me in the hairpins (i heard you ) , and what else than come back home and know that my best friend Pommy Hwwod who is also my exroomate and the OG of the Lyon Longskate Crew became a dad this week end !!!! I'm so happy right now , i just wanted that you know it" 

 Well done Spoky Woky, we are so, SO, SO proud of you & your fantastic achievements this season - the IDF rankings show what a mega star you are!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Schaeffer Mclean at BaySixty 6 Skatepark, London...

Great new vid from sponsored skater Schaeffer Mclean - his Mum, Eve, says:

"Schaeffer skateboarding at BaySixty 6 Skatepark in London. This was the first time he had seen it since Nike refurbished it, and he had fun exploring the new layout on a couple of evenings when we went there".

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Changes at SMB Bearings Ltd...

SMB Bearings Ltd (our UK company) & SMB Miniature Bearings (our international company)
are to merge on 31.08.13.

From 01.09.13 we will be SMB Bearings Ltd - during this transition we will be trading as normal.

For our UK customers there will be no change, but our international customers will need to update their records.

We will be contacting all our international customers personally to advise what VAT & bank details will need to be changed, but do please feel free to contact us via email at
or call us on 0044 (0)1993 842555 if you have any questions.

We're also taking this opportunity to upgrade our servers, software & website, so that we can provide a fast, effective & streamlined service for all our customers.

Oh yes, and we're moving to larger premises next year,
so that we can expand our existing stock levels & develop new ranges.

After all this, we'll barely recognise ourselves!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Harry Redstone - BRCA Rallycross Championship 2013

We'd like to wish Harry Redstone the very best of luck for this coming weekend - he's taking part in the fourth round of the BRCA Rallycross Championship 2013, being held in Bromsgrove this weekend.

Harry has been racing for a number of years, on a local & regional level, with great success but he is new to the national competition this year & it's been a bit of a steep learning curve. Harry says "Yeah its alot harder and alot more serious - you've got to move out the way for faster drivers and stuff. And tracks are highly prepped so it's a lot better - there are referees as well, so say your driving bad they'll tell you to calm your driving and if you take someone out you get a championship warning :-) !!"

Harry has learnt fast though & has improved his rankings meet on meet. Of the coming weekend Harry is pretty philosophical... "I'll be happy if I beat my last race, which was 78th place - I've gradually got better, first national I came 124th, second I came 80 something and third I came 78th" So by the fifth & final round of the BRCA Rallycross Championship this year we reckon Harry could well be on the podium!!

Good luck to Harry & all those taking part - have a great weekend of racing.