We share the joy of successfully implemented projects with our customers who like returning to us after a good experience. One of our long-term customers is Schneider Electric, which manufactures electrical equipment for customers worldwide. For this company, we completed the project this year, which consisted of designing and implementing a new production line.
Schneider Electric decided to move production of fire control panels and their accessories from another country to its Lexel plant in Riga, Latvia. On that occasion, it was necessary to abandon the original, old production concept, with independent island production cells, and create a new production line that would meet the company's current standards. And that was precisely the task for us.
One production line for hundreds of products
When you sell your products all over the world, it is a success. But in the case of electrical equipment, there's a catch. Different technical specifications for electricity transmission and the relevant standards applicable in each country. Therefore, you need to vary products flexibly according to the country for which they are intended. Large series production often becomes small series production and sometimes even lump production.
Suppose you want to maintain high quality and production efficiency with this variable production. In that case, you need to have a production so equipped and organized that you can easily and quickly make all the necessary changes. Fortunately, there are tools to help you accomplish this task. The secret of success is intelligent automation, which is our world. In addition, we are basing ourselves on high-quality products, which must meet not only consumer perceptions but also all local standards and legislative requirements. We share this principle with our customers and partners whose components we use in developing and producing automation solutions.
In a Kaji project, we designed and built a variable assembly line to produce 420 variants of fire exchanges and their accessories. The biggest challenge was the diversity of hand worksheets and the integration into the superior production information system (MES) for over 400 variants of produced panels.
The main product groups are fire alarm switchboards, access control units, and accessories. The varied product mix includes parts produced only one piece per year and high-capacity production of several thousand parts yearly.
Complete assembly, including testing and packaging.
The line provides complete production: pre-press and pre-assembly process steps, testing, and packaging. With a total length of approximately 20 meters, it is the most extensive assembly line in the Lexel plant. In principle, these are two similar assembly lines operating independently and independently for the two main product lines, fire exchanges, and accessories.
Two functional testers transferred from the previous plant had to be integrated into the new production line, plus one new industrial high-potential tester. Combining these three testers into the line was also the task of our developers and technicians, and the next job was to build a PMS system together with Schneider Electric.
Project complexity and time pressure
Time is the ultimate enemy of any project. Since complete production was relocated to Latvia from another country, and due to the diverse product mix and new industrialization, there was a constant risk of non-compliance with the deadlines. However, thanks to the new industrial design of the line and high efficiency, the customer could start production in the required volume in time.
What about our customers?
"It was a big project that we worked out with Automa CZ. We needed to build an assembly and test line for 420 commercial references," says Monika Lorenz, project manager at Schneider Electric Lexel.
Monika concluded by summarizing the evaluation of successful cooperation: "During the whole project, there was very close and active cooperation between Automa CZ and the Schneider Electric team. We appreciate the fast and flexible approach, active communication, and excellent knowledge of industrial automation. Thanks to this project and this cooperation, we can easily ensure the required production and variability, and, above all, we can meet the obligations towards our customers."