English - Nooteboom Giants on the Road Magazine English - Nr. 6 - 2019 | Page 47

COMPONENTS Ultramodern machinery for manufacturing vehicle components were installed In this hall, including a laser cutting machine, two new press brakes, a milling machine and a welding robot. Nooteboom Components works according to the ‘Quick Response Manufacturing’ method. This QMR-method is primarily aimed at reducing lead times in the production. But it also has a positive influence on the efficiency of the components’ production. WHY NOOTEBOOM COMPONENTS? Raymond: “Nooteboom Components was established for a number of reasons. In the coming years we aim to increase the production and reduce the lead times in the factory. We also want to produce with a higher, consistent quality. And, just as important: we want to make sure that our employees work in pleasant and safe conditions.” HOW DID THE PROCESS TO AUTOMATE THE PRODUCTION START? Raymond: “In 2016 we selected four persons who are involved from different perspectives in the production . Each of those four persons had specific knowledge about the overall production process. For the welding robot we asked three questions: which robot, which welding process and which software? Based on these first discussions we compiled a list of questions for various suppliers. Our demands were high and after initial consultations it turned out that half of the suppliers were not able to meet our requirements. After another round of consultations only two parties were left.” WHO MADE THE DECISION? Raymond: “We discussed the offers of the last two suppliers in a meeting with the project group. Because they are the people that are going to work with it. When we were not totally convinced yet we decided to visit a trade show. In the end the choice of supplier was unanimous: Yaskawa.” WHICH ROLE IN THE CHOICE DOES THE SOFTWARE PLAY? Raymond: “Nooteboom Components is a highly automated department. The software should make it possible to send the data virtually straightaway from the engineering department to the machines. For our software we don’t depend on one single supplier or one single make of robot. We ended up looking more closely at the integration of the software than at the machines. The software must offer many possibilities but it should also be user-friendly for the employees who directly work with the machines.” ■  Raymond Belderink WHY TWO PRESS BRAKES? Raymond: “The two press brakes are identical but one is a left-hand version, the other a right-hand one. We chose this option because trailers have many components that are identical but a mirror image of each other. Now we can - without changing the blades – make the components for the left and right hand-side of the trailer at the same time. The press brakes recognise every piece of steel plate, because during the cutting process a QR-code is burnt in the sheet. We have also paid much attention to the ergonomics. Every machine has two displays. One shows the data for the product, the other displays the steps of the procedure. The press brakes are equipped with several laser systems for high-precision processing and to safeguard the safety of the operator.” THE MILLING MACHINE Raymond: “When thicker plates are welded a bevelled edge must be applied to ensure an optimal weld. Magnetic plates make it quick and efficient to clamp the plates . The milling machine too is automatically set to the QR-code that is burnt in the material.” WHICH NEW MACHINES HAVE BEEN INSTALLED ? Raymond: “This is our first step in the automation of the production. To take this step we have bought five machines: a laser cutting machine with two storage towers, two press brakes, a milling machine and a welding robot. Nearly all the machines work with the same software and they can communicate with each other. The laser cutting machine is equipped with two storage towers, one of which is intended for storing steel sheets with a thickness of up to 25 mm. In the other one the cut panels are automatically stored to be selected at a later stage for further processing. The cutting process is fully automated and still keeps going while the operator has a break or goes home at the end of his working day.” ■  T  he milling machine is automatically set to the QR-code that is burnt in the material 47