Case Studies Industrial

Here maybe a deodorant, probably even try the new shampoo out of television advertising - the drugstore customers like strolling through the ranks and rummage through the shelves after drugstore products.

February 2016

Oliver Sauermann, Head of Industrial Engineering of Otto Kind GmbH, manages projects of systems-new procurement and accompanied changes in processes in manufacturing at Otto Kind. He gives the answer to the above question: “We from Otto Kind GmbH are a manufacturer of shop fitting in drugstores as well as in the food- and DIY-sector.” In his shopping experience a customer, even if not directly seen, confronted every day with products of the Otto Kind GmbH. In addition to setting up the stores, the company is also active in the establishment of factories and manufactures cabinets, drawer cabinets and ergonomic workstations. With 250 employees at its headquarters Dümmlinghausen / Gummersbach and several European sales offices, the Otto Kind GmbH faces the challenges of the market: “The establishment of shops is always a complex issue. Each retail chain has its own ideas of how he wants to set up his shop. A high degree of customizing is required, which we can attend to with our product portfolio.”

During the production of shelves of Otto Kind special shelf feet must be welded out of a pipe. This module consists of five individual parts. Because of a sharp increase of production in 2013 a robot-automated welding process for this module was an interesting option for Otto Kind: “In addition to the increased number of pieces the idea of robotic automation came also up due to a not yet optimally weld quality of our components.” Before the company initially worked with relatively few jigs, however in large series production. An older, highly specialized welding machine in the company was only able to prefabricate two different types of products, so that the scope for further assemblies was extremely limited.
In order to improve not only the optical quality of the welding seams but also to ensure a consistent quality of the high production volume, welding equipment concepts with Panasonic Robot & Welding were elaborated. Alexander Thomas, Key Account Manager of Panasonic Robot & Welding, indicates the former challenge of robot automated welding project of Otto Kind GmbH: “The component has very difficult to reach welding positions where an extremely low-spatter welding is required. Our TAWERS technology enabled the customer to eliminate spatters largely - even on difficult positions.” Mr. Sauermann also confirmed that the severe reduction of rework is a major reason for the acquisition of the system of Panasonic Robot & Welding. The foregoing welding tests in the technical center in Neuss have been able to prove this. Otto Kind GmbH decided to invest directly in two robot automated welding systems.

The first welding machine was equipped with a turntable, a TA-1800WG robot and the TAWERS technology. This system has a peak width of 1600 mm and is for the user due to the rotation changing table more comfortable to use: “The user can work parallel to the welding process. He is able to put the application into the jig without having to do a lot of moving expenses. This compact system is ideal for the majority of our applications.” 60% of the components from the Otto Kind GmbH can be welded with this solution. Components up to 2500 mm in length are welded on the second Panasonic Robot & Welding plant. This plant consists of an H-frame, TA-1900WG3 robots TAWERS technology. With a top range of 3200 mm the major components of the company could be welded easily. The tube foot was welded in the past with a cycle time of 1.5 minutes while the quality of the welding seam was volatile.

Today, the tube foot is welded in a cycle time of 22 seconds and additionally with an excellent repeatability. Next to the huge improvement in the weld quality due to repeatability and spatters reduction the production efficiency could be highly improved. For the Otto Kind GmbH it is now possible to weld a lot of modules completely finished in one clamping. Due to the easy accessibility of the robot it is possible to weld almost without reworking. The purchase of the Panasonic solution had a huge impact on the quality management of the company: “Our customers are thrilled! Complaints are not an issue for us.”

The protective enclosures of the two welding systems from Panasonic Robot & Welding were designed by the Otto Kind GmbH from existing systems. The company established a sheet metal structure which is acoustically effective. Through a special perforation in the rear wall the occurred production sound inside the enclosure is not absorbed but broken in the production area. “The resulting sound in the cabin remains in the cabin” indicates Mr. Sauermann and adds that such housing in a manufacturing environment, in particular for employees is critical: “To design an employee-friendly work environment is to our company of great importance.”

Mr. Sauermann sums up that the cooperation with Panasonic Robot & Welding is very success promising: “The planning phase was exemplary! Panasonic Robot & Welding was not too pushy, but not too cautious - just as it should be.” He emphasizes the rapid flow of information and in particular the service care they provide. For him, the reliability of a company is the most important factor: “All discussed concerns with Panasonic Robot & Welding are just arrived, as they were promised.”

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