Case Study

Automotive Supplier Cuts Costs with Robot Laser Cutting Automation

WKW North America, a Tier 1 automotive supplier, selected Shape Process Automation to provide an automated solution to help streamline and accelerate their production processes.


Shape Process Automation Logo

  • Handle products with custom shapes, sizes and precision features
  • Achieve rapid cycle times and changeovers
  • Improve quality


  • A 50% reduction in total manufacturing costs

  • Required fewer operators to load/unload and transport products around the facility

  • Easier to maintain equipment and controlling tolerances

  • Proprietary software and hardware tools that allow the plants to keep their laser cells running at high OEE

  • Achieves micron precision and world-class throughput


WKW North America is a Tier 1 automotive supplier of aluminum anodized extrusions. They recently selected Shape Process Automation (SPA), a FANUC Authorized System Integrator, to design an automated solution to produce structural aluminum parts at their facility in Portage, Michigan. Initially, WKW requested standard islands of automation, but after the team at SPA explored cost models using their ROI automation tools, the alternate solution achieved a more cost-effective approach to producing the parts.

The fully automated laser cutting system includes multiple FANUC six-axis robots equipped with SPA’s innovative three-axis laser cutting head called NEWTON®. The robots are extremely repeatable and consistently find the right location on the part for laser processing. The NEWTON® cutting head device provides down to ±50µm accuracy as it cuts the required shape. NEWTON® works at far higher speeds and accuracy than previous robotic laser cutting systems.

The combination of traditional robotic laser-cutting technology with SPA’s NEWTON ® proprietary laser cutting head has allowed WKW North America to achieve their goals and experience significant cost savings.

We found the only way to meet our requirements for quality, precision and cycle time was the technology that Shape provided.

Prakash Patel

Director, Program Management, WKW North America
Justin Bald – WKW North America

This technology is very robust, dependable, and precise – and it’s easy to use. The lowest cycle time we have is 26 seconds per part. We can get over a thousand parts in an 8-hour shift. It's very exciting, honestly, pressing the start button and it’s ready to go.

Justin Bald

Manufacturing Engineer, WKW North America

FANUC Products Used

Meet Shape Process Automation, FANUC Authorized System Integrator

Shape Process Automation is a leading automation systems provider and robot integrator. Shape designs and builds automation systems for leading manufacturers across North America and the world.

WKW Group

About WKW Group

Leading supplier of aluminum, steel, and plastic materials for the automotive industry. Components include trim, roof rails and extrusions, as well as design-oriented industrial applications.

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