At the Jutlandic machinery factory, Linatech, the focus is on growth and efficiency – and therefore over the next few years, there must be an increased amount of automation and robotics technology. Together with the Lean-strategy of the company, an automation screening has given the director a good measure of which processes that can gain the most from automation, and which robotics solutions Linatech can benefit from investing in.
20 kilometres south of Danish city Viborg in the small town of Thorning lies Linatech. Surrounded by green fields and grazing sheep tower 4000 square metres of highly modern factory facilities, where 42 of the company’s 65 overall employees produce high quality machines, processing plants and components.
The key is Lean and automation
Linatech was taken over in 2016 by Martin Arberg, who since then has focused on growing the company and increasing profitability. The key to success is Lean, a business philosophy developed at the Toyota-factories back in the 60’s, with the purpose of simplifying and optimizing their production processes. In the eyes of Martin Arbergs, it is about removing bottlenecks and understanding the entire value chain of the company – flavoured with a personal curiosity for how motivated employees and modern technology can help improve the business.
“Increased automation is – along with the development of our employees – the most important point of Linatech’s strategy,” says Martin Arberg and explains, that waves of Lean and subsequent implementations of technology will replace each other until 2020.
Currently, Martin Arberg and his crew are implementing a robotic welder, and when autumn arrives, the next Lean phase will begin. Early 2019 will see a renewed focus on automation and robotics technology.
Automation screening shows the way
Linatech is a modern company with the strategy under control and a broad understanding of what technology can do for the business. However, this does not keep Martin Arberg from challenging his own ideas of how technology can create value in production.
He therefore gratefully accepted when trade association ‘Arbejdsgiverne’ in spring 2018 offered an automation screening performed by the independent consulting company Gain & Co.
On a day in June, Linatech was visited by two of Gain & Co’s automation experts, who walked the production line and spoke with employees on the execution of their tasks. Prior to this, Martin Arberg and Cain & Co had reviewed Linatech’s strategy and targets, so the estimation of automation potential was performed with the full picture.
“Even though we at Linatech have a good wrap on things, I would like to challenge my own picture of what can be accomplished with technology. I am used to picking a path and quickly moving down it – but I want the expert’s opinion on whether or not my choice of path is right.”
A solution catalog for automation
Shortly after the visit of Gain & Co at Linatech, Martin Arberg received a concluding memorandum, which is the official document to round off the automation screening and mapping of the production company’s automation potential. And this made for an interesting read according to Martin Arberg.
“It was pleasant to have confirmation that we at Linatech have focused on appropriate processes and technologies. However, there was one conclusion in the memorandum which I had not expected. And this is why it makes sense to cooperate which specialists like Gain & Co, who have the correct background and necessary knowledge to select processes and robotic solutions while documenting their choices,” he says.
It was a process for plate bending, which Gain & Co had set as 2ndpriority in the concluding memorandum, which surprised Martin Arberg and made him re-evaluate the content of the next wave of automation at Linatech.
New projects underway
“I have recently forwarded the memorandum to our board, so we can review which investments make sense and which we should hold off on. We want to take specific initiatives when we develop Linatech, and for this, I can use the memorandum as a supporting document in my work leading the company,” says Martin Arberg.
He expects that it will take as much as 3 to 6 months before one or more of Gain & Co’s recommendations are implemented. Having his company reviewed systematically and received an expert look at its flow and processes has been both an exciting and necessary exercise.
“With the memorandum in hand, we are in a strong position to optimize our company so we can become even more competitive and reach the targets we have set. We will pursue further automation when the time is right, so we all are prepared and can handle the changes that automation unavoidably will bring.”
”Med konklusionsnotatet i hånden står vi stærkt ift. at effektivisere vores virksomhed, så vi kan blive endnu mere konkurrencedygtige og nå de mål, vi har sat os for. Vi trykker på den næste automationsknap, når tiden er rigtig, så vi alle sammen er med og kan håndtere de forandringer, som automation uvægerligt medfører.”