The KUKA flexFELLOW installs pump wells

In the future, BSH Hausgeräte GmbH will be relying on the expertise of automation specialist KUKA Systems. The KUKA flexFELLOW carries out the installation of pump wells on the dishwasher production line.

The initial situation

The BSH Hausgeräte GmbH factory in Dillingen, Germany is Europe’s largest and most modern factory for dishwashers. Around 10,000 machines leave the production line every day in two-shift operation. There are a total of seven production lines for manufacturing dishwashers.
The KUKA flexFELLOW has already been tested successfully over several months as part of a pilot system. This involves screwing pump wells into place in the dishwasher housing. Screw fastening of the pump covers is an ergonomically inconvenient task as the employee has to lean into the dishwasher housing to perform the task. The mechanical assistant now takes on this monotonous step in the process. In addition to relieving the human operator of a cumbersome task, the robot also contributes by documenting its work and indicating whether the screws have been tightened correctly or not.

The task

Around 10,000 machines leave the production line every day in two-shift operation. There are a total of seven production lines for manufacturing dishwashers. And now there is a new colleague working on the production line. Its contribution has already been tested successfully over several months as part of a pilot system. Its name: KUKA flexFELLOW. The advantages: flexible, sensitive and always ready for operation when required. 

Der KUKA flexFELLOW zusammen mit einer Mitarbeiterin bei der Montage
Side by side: excellent human-robot collaboration

The solution

The key challenge when designing the system was to ensure that the manual workstation remained unchanged and that the automation solution, namely the KUKA flexFELLOW, could be integrated into the existing assembly line. With this in mind, the KUKA flexFELLOW was the correct automation solution given the requirements of BSH. Its sensitive and responsive capabilities enable it to recognize if, for example, a pump well component is not positioned correctly and then presses it into place. 

The advantages of using the KUKA flexFELLOW:

  • Reduction of the manual workload in an ergonomically inconvenient task
  • Automated documentation of work steps
  • Indication of correct screw fastening operation

Using its responsive capabilities, the KUKA flexFELLOW can then calibrate itself independently at its workstation, use a search run mode to find the screw positions, re-apply pressure to the component if it is not correctly positioned and finally tighten the four screws.

Der KUKA flexFELLOW übernimmt die anstrengenden, monotonen Schraubarbeiten
The KUKA flexFELLOW takes on the strenuous, monotonous screw fastening tasks
KUKA flexFELLOW installs pump wells on the dishwasher production line to support the employee in the ergonomically inconvenient task.

BSH is still testing the KUKA flexFELLOW in dishwasher production. So far, all the feedback we have received has been positive. Therefore, we are confident that our automation solution will soon be a permanent fixture at the site in Dillingen

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