Case Study

Vickers Engineering Thrives: FANUC Automation Fuels Competitive Edge

Vickers Engineering, based in New Troy, Michigan, is a leader in precision machining and assembly, committed to using technology to push the boundaries of manufacturing. Vickers first implemented FANUC robots in 2006 to relieve operators from doing a physically demanding operation. From that point, Vickers and its team fully engaged in automation to take on high-speed and repetitive tasks that has helped them achieve production goals and grow the business. Vickers recently entered a new chapter in their automation journey by integrating a FANUC CRX with a ROBODRILL machining center. This new technology has quickly helped Vickers improve efficiency and reliability in their machine tending area.


  • Achieve production goals
  • Alleviate people from physically demanding tasks
  • Maintain high quality standards


  • FANUC automation is easy to program and use.

  • CRX/ROBODRILL combination is reliable and efficient.

  • Provides employees with growth opportunities.


For over 50 years, Vickers Engineering has been a leading producer of high-quality precision parts for the automotive industry. After decades of increasing growth, in 2006 Vickers management realized that automation would be necessary to maintain a competitive edge.

According to Jeff Vickers, Vice President of Engineering Sales, the company was very fortunate to embrace automation early on. “That first automation project was really done out of necessity because the task was too physically demanding for a person to do.”

Initially, Vickers’ management was intimidated by the automation – they didn’t know how to maintain or program it, and they were not sure how their employees would react. However, once the FANUC robot arrived, their concerns quickly vanished due to its ease of use and reliable operation. Most importantly, the employees were not at all threatened by the automation and actually fought over who got to run the cell.

After that first robot implementation, Vickers used industrial robots due to their speed and ability to perform numerous repetitive operations - day in and day out - 24 hours a day, five days a week for several years.

A New Era - FANUC ROBODRILL Machining Centers + CRX Cobot

Vickers was first introduced to the FANUC ROBODRILL through one of their customers. Much like the robots, once they had a ROBODRILL on their floor, they soon realized that the machines are incredibly nimble and useful for a variety of applications. “Several factors really made a difference, including the price point of the ROBODRILL, its reliability, and at the end of the day, our relationship with FANUC,” said Matt Tyler, President and CEO, Vickers Engineering. Today, Vickers uses over 20 ROBODRILLs and plans to add more in the future.

“The ROBODRILL is a high-speed machining center in a small package that is very welcoming to third-party integration,” said Vickers’ Sr. Controls Engineer, Bobby Rowles. “We're able to adapt the PMC (Programmable Machine Control) to fit our needs, and FANUC’s service and support have been great on that front as well.”

Like most manufacturers, Vickers had considered collaborative robots to take on tasks that would allow people to work in the same space without the need for fences or guarding. That’s when they decided to automate a ROBODRILL with a FANUC CRX cobot.

“Our team felt very comfortable with the industrial robots, and then FANUC introduced their latest technology in the form of the CRX cobot,” added Tyler. “The CRX provides that next level of efficiency and freedom because it allows operators to work in and out of the cell alongside the cobot.”

Cell operators comment on how easy it is to run the CRX using a touchscreen to pick and place parts. They are also impressed that they can simply set boundaries that make the cobot slow down or stop completely if it encounters a person or object. This capability eliminates the need for a cage or safety fencing. In addition, the CRX cobot has increased output while maintaining efficiency and quality.

“We’re really excited about moving forward utilizing CRX automation and the ROBODRILL combined - together, there's a lot of synergy there. And not only the technology that is obvious synergy, but just working with FANUC as a whole,” said Tyler. “One of the reasons we chose FANUC all the way back in 2006 is that we wanted to work with the most reliable partner in the industry, and they've delivered ever since.”

“Without automation in our industry, I don't know how a company can survive and compete,” added Vickers. “Going forward, we plan to continue our success using world-class FANUC automation.”

Matt Tyler - President/ CEO Vickers Engineering

The argument that you need a high-volume, predictable, and steady opportunity to apply automation is completely out the window. Today, the price point of entering that space is significantly less with the FANUC CRX, and its technology is a complete game changer.

Matt Tyler

President/ CEO, Vickers Engineering

FANUC Products Used

Vickers Engineering

About Vickers Engineering

Established in 1970, Vickers Engineering has grown to become a world-class precision machining and assembly company. Their journey is one of continuous growth, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to quality and customer service.

Over the years, Vickers has evolved with the changing landscape of manufacturing, embracing state-of-the-art technologies and automation to deliver unparalleled customer service.

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