KMWE, located in the Brainport in Eindhoven, is a large machining company that makes parts for the aircraft, semiconductor and medical industries, among others. KMWE works with the hard more diffucult-to-machine steel and stainless steel material types. Production consists of a wide variety of products. Often in small series of 10 to 40 pieces, but also in larger batches of 100 pieces. To deal with this flexibly, CNC automation is necessary.
8 robot cells from Cellro, up to 400 kg
The collaboration between KMWE and Cellro began in 2010. The first CNC automation enabled pallet, product and tool changing. Meanwhile, eight Cellro robotic cells have been implemented, the latest of which can take up to 400 kg to the machines. Twan Verspaandonk, production support manager at KMWE explains, “We cannot and do not want to stand still. We have to keep changing and improving constantly to keep up with our customers. Cellro is an important partner for KMWE because they are willing to grow with us.
This enables continuous production
KMWE strives for continuous production and works with day and evening shifts. Twan explains: “In the day shift, we have one operator on one cell adjusting products and performing initial checks. During the evening shift, we try to run the machines unmanned continuously. We then work with fewer staff and control work is mainly carried out. If necessary, the cell is reloaded. ”
Automation is crucial for this. Especially as skilled workers are becoming increasingly scarce. Twan explains: “We have one robot in the middle that operates two CNC machines. Without automation, the mix of starting up products and measuring them afterwards, would become too much for the employees.”
Preparing while the CNC machine is running
Lars van Kroonenburg, all-round machine operator milling, has been working in KMWE’s automated CNC department for five years. He still remembers the time without robotic cells: “I started without automation, manually taking pallets in and out of the machines. Now the robot does that for me, and we can produce several products at the same time in one production run. The biggest advantage of CNC automation is that we can work while the machine is running. At this time, we can clamp products and adjust tools while the machine is running.”
12 different products on one robot cell
Twan adds: “Automation ensures that we keep an overview. We can oversee tools needed as well as raw material and finished products. One employee can now manage up to 6 products on one machine. That means we can process 12 products on one cell. This not only provides KMWE with more spindle hours, but also opens up new opportunities by allowing us to attract larger customers.”
In 15 years Cellro’s robotic cells will still be there
Cellro’s robotic cells will last for years. Twan: “I expect Cellro’s cells will still be there in the next 15 years. However, we will make more use of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) to better supply the cells and our production with, for example, cutting materials and raw materials. So that we can produce more on the same square metres and our craftsmen can focus more on technology and quality. Cellro has always supported us in our vision and plans that we have and has become an important partner for us to also move forward together with automation and robotisation in the future.