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Robot Automatisering

Optidrive and Erbi: Strong partners in production

Official KUKA System Partner Optidrive has developed an automation solution for the Dutch manufacturer of kitchen trays Erbi where 2 KUKA robots are used in production.

Erbi: Automation necessary to grow

The company Erbi is a Dutch manufacturer of kitchen countertops. Erbi is an innovative and progressive company that always had the objective of continuously stimulating their customers with the novelties on the market. The financial crisis, however, didn’t make things easy for Erbi and in 2013 they were taken over by the company Dekker Zevenhuizen Groep. Since 2013, Erbi has been working on an unbelievable growth, which means that they have had to expand their staff in a very short time to around 80 employees.

The demand for their kitchen counters continues to rise and, in order to continue to anticipate on this, Erbi felt compelled to automate its production processes. The company Optidrive, located in Leuven, soon came into their sights as the specialist in the field of grinding and polishing.  Optidrive supplies robotic installations for automated grinding, polishing or deburring in the metal, plastic or stone industry. Therefore it was absolutely clear to Erbi that Optdrive was the perfect partner to collaborate with. Raf Dequeker, General Manager of Optidrive, developed two automation solutions for Erbi.

Official KUKA System Partner  Optidrive

Two material handling applications as solution

The first automation solution is located at the sawing line. Here, the various parts for kitchen counters come of a conveyor belt. In the past, an employee then used a heavy crane to lift the component from the conveyor belt and placed it on a cart. Next, the component was placed on 1 of the 3 conveyor belts, depending on the production step that had to take place. The first conveyor belt is used for materials that have to be milled, while the second one is used for V-Groove work. The third conveyor belt is used for polishing components.  It was the task of the employee to keep an eye on which part had to end up on each conveyor belt. This created a huge possibility for mistakes with all the costly consequences that would follow. There was also an increased risk of damage when the part was not properly lifted or put down.
For Official KUKA System Partner Optidrive it was clear that this production process needed to be automated if Erbi wanted to grow with the market. Optidrive chose the KR 240 R3330 robot from the Fortec series. It is now up to the robot to lift the materials of the conveyor belt and distributing them over the 3 different conveyor belts. The robot automatically knows which component belongs to the right conveyor belt and therefore, made this process completely flawless and without any damage to the material. By automating this process, Optidrive was able to provide Erbi with a very cost-efficient and production enhancing solution. The extra capacity the is now created, was more than welcome for Erbi because of the ever increasing demand for their high-quality kitchen counters.
The KR 240 R3330 robot distributes the material over 3 conveyor belts
A second robot was placed at the V-Groove machine. The palletizing robot KR 470-2 PA gives the parts to the machine. All settings of the V-Groove machine are determined by the KUKA robot, making this process completely flawless. This process was previously also manually done, wherean employee had to fill in each paper sheet separately with the correct data and enter this manually in the V-Groove machine. This process also allowed a great risk for human errors and was extremely delaying the production cycle time.
The KR 470-2 PA supplies parts to the machine

Without this automation solution, we would never have been able to respond so efficiently to the increasing demand. 

Kees-Jan de Vos van Erbi

A productive cooperation

Kees-Jan de Vos from Erbi is extremely satisfied with the automation solutions that Optidrive has provided. "Without this automation solution, we would never have been able to respond so efficiently to the increasing demand. We now deliver an even higher quality than before and our customers are noticeably satisfied. Optidrive thinks actively along the production story and they knew exactly how to respond to our bottle necks. They walked with us through this project from the very beginning to the very end. Even after the installation of their automation solutions, their service is excellent. Optidrive clearly places its customers first, "says Kees-Jan. It is obvious to both parties that their positive cooperation is not yet at an end.

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