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6 KUKA robots automate the production at Quooker
Quooker couldn’t keep up with the increasing demand for its boiling water taps. In order to be able to increase its production Quooker decided to use 6 KUKA robots in its factory. Because of this production automation, Quooker saw its production output increase by 50%, its costs decreased
Quooker: from an idea to a succesful product
The story of Quooker begins in 1970. Henri Peteri worked at Unilever where he followed a presentation on instant soup. It showed how you could dissolve soup in boiling water in just five seconds. For Peteri, however, it didn't make any sense that you first had to wait another five minutes before you had boiling water. Because of this he developed a first prototype for a kitchen tap with boiling water in his own basement. From the moment he launched his first model on the market, it was an instant success.
The family business slowly started to gain market share in the Netherlands and since 2004 the product is also delivered abroad. The product is a huge success worldwide. Quooker's ambition: to supply boiling water to as many private kitchens as possible in a smart and responsible way. In order to achieve this, Quooker works every day on new technical ideas and design solutions to make the taps even more economical, easier and more beautiful.
Quooker currently produces 150,000 systems per year, has more than 2,000 distributors and doubles their turnover every 3 years. Because of its success, Quooker has also had to expand enormously. They currently have branches in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland.
KUKA industrial robots used to optimise production
In order to be able to continue to meet the ever-increasing demand for their boilers, Quooker had to fully automate its packaging production line. For this they contacted Official KUKA System Partner One-Off Solutions. To make the automation as efficient as possible, One-Off Solutions chose to use 2 industrial robots from KUKA. The first robot, a KR 20 R1810 of the CYBERTECH series, is used to take the boilers out of a product holder and place them in a box. A specially designed pneumatic gripper has been mounted on the KUKA robot in order to efficiently pick up the boilers. This automation solution allowed Quooker to increase the cycle time to 23 seconds. In other words, the KUKA robot picks up 2.6 boilers per minute and places them in a box.
KUKA's second industrial robot is a KR120 R3200 palletising robot of the QUANTEC series. On this robot a vacuum plate is installed with which the robot palletizes the different boxes of Quooker boilers on pallets. Here too, the speed of the robot is remarkable. Thanks to the KUKA robot, 2.6 boxes per minute are now palletised. A speed that was previously impossible with manual labour.
The result: an output increase by 50% and a significant cost reduction
Carrying out the tasks manually was physically very stressful for the employees and increasing the manual production was not feasible for them. Because this packaging line is now automated, Quooker decided to retrain its workers and give them other tasks that were not physically demanding. This allowed Quooker to increase its production output by no less than 50% and made working so much more pleasant for its workers. This was a win-win situation for everyone and of course this did not go unnoticed by Quooker.
Expansion of production automation with more KUKA robots
Due to the huge success of their first production automation, Quooker decided to analyse its entire production to see where improvements could be made. As a result, they decided to use 4 more KUKA robots to further optimize production and make it more efficient. The tasks of these 4 robots are very diverse. The robots are responsible for the in-and output of a hydroforming press to make the cauldrons, the in- and output of a machine to cut the sharp edges of a component, the testing with forming gas to see if there are any leaks in a boiler and the handling of hoses and other parts in a machine to process a hose.
Quooker currently has 6 KUKA robots running in their production and they are not planning to put their automation plans on hold. Quooker is experiencing the many advantages that production automation brings. Their production output increases, the costs decrease and the employees have to perform physically less strenuous work. For their future automation plans, they will again choose to implement KUKA robots. The KUKA robots have an excellent price/quality ratio,their service is excellent and the robots are very easy to operate, says Jan van Reede, Manager Production Technology at Quooker.