To be able to assemble a new type of thermostat, Danfoss needed a new assembly line. The main requirements for the new line were production efficiency (400 ppm) and high product quality control. Workstation ergonomics were additional considerations to be met.
A modular, flexible, and not least scalable assembly line able to meet fluctuations in demand and product variants. Optimization of the production flow was thought into every aspect of the system. Quality control was increased by introducing RFID tags, vision and pick-to-light systems, and rejection stations for parts outside tolerance.
When the project started out, the design of the product to be assembled was not completely finished. In addition, the project involved several stakeholders from both Denmark and the UK. The concept development, therefore, had to be done taking many different requirements and assumptions into consideration. The main requirements were production efficiency – the goal was to reach 400 ppm – and high-quality control. Besides, the design had to consider the ergonomic work environment of the assembly staff.
Based on Bosch Rexroth profiles, Eltronic designed and manufactured a reusable plug-and-play platform that can be applied to several production scenarios thanks to its modularity and flexibility. Optimization of the production process was integrated into every aspect of the system. All processes were examined with a view to optimizing the production flow and downtime as well as waiting time was reduced to an absolute minimum.
The system can easily be scaled to accommodate fluctuations in demand, and thanks to the modular design, future additions or changes can be made quickly and easily. In addition, the system holds the potential for future integration of collaborative robots or other Industry 4.0 technologies.
To meet the requirements for quality control, RFID tags were introduced to trace and control the flow of products, and rejection stations for parts outside tolerance were integrated. In addition, vision and pick-to-light systems were installed to reduce errors and increase production efficiency. To further ensure quality, Danfoss can easily extract data about the production flow, rejected products, etc. from the system.
Finally, the workstations were designed with a high focus on the ergonomic work environment.
“Based on previous projects completed in cooperation with Eltronic, Danfoss Heating chose Eltronic as our partner. Eltronic’s preliminary task was to develop a concept based on input from stakeholders in Danfoss regarding demands on output, traceability, quality, working environment, etc. After presenting the concept, Eltronic was also chosen as the supplier of the line itself with integrated equipment from other suppliers.
The finished result is a line flexible in the number of work stations, in balancing, and in expansion. Simultaneously, quality assurance is integrated into several workstations contributing to a finished product of high quality.”
Jørgen Børsting Pedersen – R&D Procurement Specialist at Danfoss
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