Concerted assembly with pick-to-light supportWell thought-out concept for more ergonomics and efficiency 01. March 2024
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For the production of a new product in Poland, Kessel AG implemented a new assembly line together with MiniTec.

For many years, Kessel AG in Lenting, Upper Bavaria, has stood for the protection of people and their environment from water damage and pollution. Drainage solutions from Kessel ensure that wastewater can be disposed of cleanly and safely in over 60 countries. The products include sewage pumps. A new assembly line was built for the assembly of a new type of this type at the plant in Poland - with MiniTec as a partner.

Ten different waste water pumps are assembled on the assembly line. The system has a "U-shaped" design and comprises a total of ten work stations. Production is carried out according to the one-piece flow principle - based on the division of labor, which means that up to three employees assemble a pump on the system successively. It can also happen that different models are produced on the line at the same time.

For this to be possible at all, all material for all pump types must always be available. A pick-to-light system was implemented to prevent errors during assembly and to ensure that employees always know directly which components they need. LEDs light up on the boxes from which the material is to be taken and always signal to the worker "this material is required at this station for this pump that I am building now".

The U-shape of the system allows smooth, team-based assembly.

Pick To Light strips show the worker which material he needs for the upcoming assembly process.

Traceability for every pump
Each pump is initially labeled with a laser. The label contains the serial number and a data matrix code with the respective version. At each station there is a scanner that reads the serial number and the version via the data matrix code. This data now forms the basis for the Pick To Light control system. At the same time, the system ensures clear traceability ("tracing") of each pump produced. This is because all work content and checks carried out at the workstation are automatically documented in line with the article and serial number read out.

Successful project flow
During the realization of the assembly line, the tasks were clearly distributed - the design came from MiniTec, the programming and the work content in this case from Kessel. In principle, Kessel could have done the design itself, as the company has its own fixture construction department with five employees and extensive experience with the MiniTec profile construction kit. For capacity reasons, however, MiniTec was brought on board in this case, according to Tim Lehmeier, production expert and project manager at Kessel: "The implementation would not have been possible without MiniTec. We often do this when there are capacity bottlenecks.

When there are too many projects at once or simply because it is sometimes more practical and faster via MiniTec. That's why we let MiniTec do the basic setup for all workstations, including the material supply. Our own fixture construction department took care of the work content. In other words, everything relating to the presses, assembly devices, riveting machines and other logic and intelligence."

Ergonomically well thought out
Lehmeier is very satisfied with how the project went: "The collaboration with MiniTec and especially Mr. Trenz worked really well. There were a few challenges, for example with the material supply. Because we build so many pumps on these stations and the material always has to be available for all the different variants, we have a lot of it - via container Kanban - at the individual stations. The challenge was to store it as ergonomically as possible so that the employees can always reach it without any problems. MiniTec provided very valuable support here with its experience." MiniTec also suggested the transport system - a rail system with a so-called angled slide rail.

"We originally wanted to do it with roller rails," says Lehmeier, "but we liked the suggestion, it's not so loud and you always have a fixed position for processing." According to Lehmeier, the extremely rapid progress of the project - just five months passed from project start to acceptance - is a further indication of the good teamwork. The assembly line for the waste water pumps is now going to the Polish plant of Kessel AG, where the waste water stations are being completely built. In addition to the pure pump line, there are two other stations there where the final systems are built.

Great importance was attached to ergonomics at the individual workstations.


For production expert Tim Lehmeier, in addition to MiniTec's expertise as a system manufacturer, its modular profile system also offers clear advantages: "We used to have five or six different profile manufacturers in the company and at some point we realized that this was bad because nothing fits together. And even if we want to keep material in stock, we have to concentrate on one. MiniTec impressed us with the best thought-out concept and its unique joining technology. That's why our fixture construction department decided at the time to only use MiniTec in future, because we get along with it perfectly."

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