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Botts range of workplace systems provide ergonomic storage solution for lighting specialist Urbis

Bott’s range of workplace systems has been used to provide an ergonomic storage solution to meet lighting specialist Urbis’ lean manufacturing criteria when a new assembly line was being designed.

When Urbis introduced a new street light, the company needed to make significant changes to its assembly lines as the current set-up was unable to cope with the weight of the product. To ensure new production facilities fulfilled the company’s extensive criteria, Urbis turned to Production Design & Supply (PD&S) – a specialist in designing and installing assembly lines – which proposed a solution using Bott’s APS range of workstation systems.

The problem facing Urbis was that the assembly jigs for their new Evolo lights weighed 11.5kg, which is 80 per cent heavier than those previously used on the production lines. With an anticipated output of around 300 units per day, this posed major health and safety concerns, so Urbis took the opportunity to install a completely new line capable of operating on lean techniques and specifically suited to the new products.

In designing the line to meet lean manufacturing techniques, which involves implementing efficient processes and optimising available space, the main issue to be resolved was the ergonomic problems associated with repetitive lifting of the heavy pallet. A number of parameters were drawn up, including the use of jig boards rather than carriages and elimination of manual lifting – and the new line had to be easy to clean. The new assembly also had to have good storage capacity for boards and stock and needed to provide easy access to components. In addition, the assembly line couldn’t take up more space than the one it was replacing.

PD&S based its solution on Bott’s APS modular conveyor and workstation equipment, designing some bespoke elements using its in-house 3D CAD software. This enabled everyone involved at Urbis to quickly understand how all the concepts worked and fitted in around existing installations on the factory floor, making the ultimate choice of assembly-line configuration much simpler.

Bott’s APS range consists of assembly workbenches, workstations, rollertrack and trolleys. Rollertrack and ball transfer tables are a key part of the APS system and allow for a quick and efficient set up of lines designed to maximise productivity and minimise manual handling.

A manual roller track system was chosen for the Urbis assembly line. Urbis was so impressed by its cost-effectiveness and the compact design of the line it decided to install two new lines instead of just one, with a view to replacing two further lines in the future.

Speaking for Urbis Lighting, Andy Harrison says: "The result has been very successful and we have been very impressed by the way PD&S and Bott have handled everything from concept to installation. As is often the case with new assembly processes, once the line was operating we found a couple of small areas where there was room for even further improvement. Because the Bott APS modular system is so flexible, it has been quick and easy to make changes ourselves. It has also enabled us to experiment with the configuration of the line without any major cost or downtime implications."

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