Liebherr-Hausgeräte: Communication as a factor of success
Packaging refrigerators is one of the most challenging tasks from an ergonomic perspective. Liebherr-Hausgeräte Ochsenhausen GmbH has optimised its packaging area and relies on areas of expertise within the Group. The main successes from restructuring are the improved quality of packaging, reduction in costs and less strain on the employees.
In Ochsenhausen, the packaging process was carried out manually until now. For the health of the employees and to optimise the quality of the process, introducing a load relief system was therefore beneficial. Precision automated fitting of the boxes rules out human error during packaging and the products are well protected for transportation.
Observing existing structure of building
Building specifications and restrictions limit the freedom to plan the packaging line. The space was very tight and the roof structure had to be taken account of owing to the girders in some areas that restricted the lift of the gantry unit. “But we deal with this kind of thing on a daily basis. And automation solutions don't arise from a vacuum”, explains Thomas Mattern, head of development at Liebherr-Verzahntechnik GmbH. The problem of the low ceiling height for the gantry units was resolved with a double telescopic design. This makes the requisite lift possible with a significantly lower construction height.
High cycle rate – greater diversity
The varied output of the production lines in Ochsenhausen also necessitated a flexible system to package the different refrigerators respectively. “The facilities met our expectations completely” explains Benjamin Maucher, project manager at Liebherr-Hausgeräte Ochsenhausen GmbH.
With the high production output of 4,500 refrigerators per day, the site plays no small role in world-wide production. “The demands on availability were particularly high”, Thomas Mattern reports. “Since we have an active production line here, there is no margin for error because a refrigerator comes every twelve seconds. If something fails, the whole production comes to a halt.”
Collaboration incorporating all areas of design
Owing to the great diversity, there is automatically a need for different box sizes that have to be ready and made available quickly. “A gantry solution therefore seemed the way to go. The initial ideas were all developed internally in the production planning team and were then compared with the suppliers. Without the suppliers' expertise and the good communication that we had with each other, we would never have been able to achieve it”, Benjamin Maucher describes.
As a general contractor, Liebherr supplies the complete programme, consisting of in-house components and those from specialised partners.
The success of the project is down to the operationally effective interfaces: On one hand, it is the people that accompany the development and implementation process. On the other, it is the harmoniously operating systems of the participating partners. Benjamin Maucher is very satisfied with the result: “Communication between both parties was excellent. As project manager, it was also important to me to have Liebherr-Verzahntechnik GmbH one central contact as this simplifies communication significantly. With this solution, we found a cost effective way to invest in the health of our employees.”