Furniture maker chooses Midlands based Kuka robot for machining tasks

A KUKA robot is helping one of the UK’s leading bespoke furniture makers to expand its end-to-end manufacturing capabilities by undertaking a variety of finishing operations.

The 100Kg payload 7-axis KR100 model has been installed in an automated production cell at Jali’s factory in Kent to streamline a series of machining tasks on a number of new product lines.

It features a versatile end effector for holding the wide selection of tools used in the various finishing processes, which range from cutting apertures for window shutter hinges to decorative edge profiling of bookcase panels.

The investment in automation represents the latest phase of the company’s high-tech design and manufacturing system, which has been developed by managing director Nicholas Showan.

Nicholas, an experienced engineer, who established the award-winning business in Barham in 1990, sought the expertise of Halesowen-based KUKA Automation + Robotics to help him shape a solution that complemented his lean manufacturing philosophy.

“While I approached other robotics companies with my plans, KUKA was the most keen to discuss my ideas. Everyone involved in the project has been very helpful,” he commented.

The factory already boasts an array of automated machinery that is linked to a sophisticated online product design system devised by Nicholas to create an efficient, low-cost production operation from order placement to despatch.

“Jali has one of the highest productivity to staff ratios in the industry. I believe there’s more ground to be made by using automation instead of decades-old manufacturing methods,” said Nicholas.

He plans to invest in additional automation solutions in the future, which may include a pick-and-place robotic application for a panel location racking system.


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