Philips taps Adept robotics for its high-tech shaver operations.
PLEASANTON, CA--When Philips, a world leader in healthcare, lifestyle and lighting products, decided to build an assembly line capable of manufacturing their current line of high-tech shavers and support any future redesigns, they turned to Adept Technology (Nasdaq:ADEP) as their supplier of robotics and flexible feeding systems. The combined expertise of Bremer Werk fur Montagesysteme GmbH and Adept led to a successful deployment of an assembly system capable of producing Philips' high-tech shavers, which are in high-demand and considered premium products all over the globe.
"True flexible feeding means being able to solve tomorrow´s challenges today," says Ruediger Winter, Director of European Sales, Adept Technology. "Changing products no longer requires any hardware changes, but just a few minutes to teach the system to accept the new parts. This makes our customer feel safer about the longer-term competitive nature of their assembly line."
The high-tech shavers are produced at Philips's facility in Drachten, Netherlands, which is where the company's research and development activity resides. The assembly of the high-tech shaving devices demanded the highest level of quality, which is why the Drachten plant turned to automation instead of manual labor for their production. Reliable assembly processes with integrated quality control assure the highest level of quality of the consumer products. For Bremer Werk fur Montagesysteme GmbH, it is no secret how to build the necessary equipment for demanding assembly tasks. The specialists had the industry expertise and knowledge, but in the case of Philips, there was much more required than pre-existing, proven solutions off-the-rack.
"The real challenge in finding the right solution for Philips was to accomplish the enormous model variety of the high-end shavers. Currently about 60 different product lines culminate in some 600 single products. Thereby the product spectrum changes almost every day," said Matthias Schaller, head of robotics at the Bremer Werk fur Montagesysteme GmbH.
Building machinery capable of assembling products that don't exist yet presented a significant challenge. BWM chose Adept flexible robotic solutions after realizing that they would need 6-axis robots, SCARA robots, vision systems, part feeders and controls - all from a single source. Adept's high-duty components met all requirements and had already shown their efficiency in similar projects in the past for BWM.
The first item to address was how to achieve the highest levels of flexibility. Maximum flexibility in the automation was delivered in a number of ways. The modular layout of the shavers consists of three main components that can be manufactured independent of one another on different production lines. Additionally, the conception of the complete equipment is also based on the module idea.
When the line integration is complete, more than 120 robots and 40 Adept Anyfeeder™ systems will provide the frictionless assembly system for the shavers. According to experienced Senior Manager Sietze Bremer, "We count on Adept completely when expanding the equipment. The majority of Viper 6-axis and Cobra SCARA robots are equipped with AdeptSight vision guidance and inspection capabilities. The systems arrive already having been tried and tested in existing lines. The robots impress with their precision, speed, and availability and perform the tasks with the high accuracy that is required."