Vaillant Group is one of the world’s leading heating technology manufacturers, employing over 10,000 people worldwide. For nearly 140 years, Vaillant has been setting the standards in the heating market, including pioneering the ‘combi’ boiler 35 years ago.
As one of Europe’s leading heating technology manufacturers, ‘thinking ahead’ is a culture which is embraced throughout the business. And Vaillant UK, based in Belper, Derbyshire wanted an innovative way to meet increased levels of customer demand in the UK without increasing its labour costs.
By introducing automation to the assembly of Heat Engines and palletising of Vaillant Boilers, Vaillant UK realised that it could make significant production improvements.
A KUKA palletising robot solution would reduce the need for manual intervention in the manufacturing process and increase both the efficiency and capacity of the manufacturing track.
For the Heat Engine Cell, the need to pick, place and secure rapidly was essential to Vaillant UK to keep up with the requirement of the track. The demand was a maximum cycle time of 45 seconds between assemblies.
For the Palletising Cell, Vaillant UK had to manage the need to pick and gently place the finished products in different configurations whilst ensuring no mixing of products on a single pallet. The requirement was to process a minimum of 25 pallets every hour.
With its powerful motors and high performance gear units, and the ability to stack multiple pallets up to great heights with ease, the KUKA KR180-2 Palletising solution was chosen for both installations to ensure shorter cycle times and greater productivity.
By removing manual handling from both the front and back end of the manufacturing process, Vaillant were able to increase the production of its Heat Engines by more than 20% without the need for more staff.
Richard Sainsbury, Industrial Engineering Manager at Vaillant UK has been impressed with the results: “Looking holistically, the KUKA robots will have paid for themselves within 2.5 years.”
Since implementation, Vaillant UK has also seen a significant reduction in operator fatigue with Health and Safety claims so far eliminated. “This is a huge step forward in terms of meeting our health and safety objectives.” continues Richard Sainsbury.
A strong recommendation from trusted integrators led to Vaillant UK choosing KUKA Robotics for this project. Since then, key personnel have undertaken KUKA training and KUKA robot solutions are now the standard choice for all future Vaillant UK projects.