Plastic is cheap to automate and the result is high quality. Elmia Polymer’s seminar Quality is Spelled Plastic offered many new approaches, above all for small and medium-size companies (SMEs).
“A lot of it’s about what you want yourself,” explained Jonas Ewing, CEO of Rosti GP in Gislaved, Sweden. “Many small companies focus too little on earning money, so they don’t speed up their production development either.”
It’s in the SMEs that an investment in automation can benefit productivity the best. Yet many of these companies avoid investing.
Torbjörn Egerhag, CEO of K.D. Feddersen Norden, argued that this should not be the case. “Plastic is the cheapest material to automate and if you are developing a new product you should also start thinking about plastic.”
He presented several reasons for this at the seminar. Plastic needs little energy to produce, it never needs to be surface treated, and adding functionality is easy in the form of hinges, poppers, etc.
“Plastic needs much less finishing compared to aluminium and steel,” he said.
Jonas Ewing from Rosti GP argued that automation involves far more than just robots. One example is Rosti’s project involving a dark industrial hall. True, that is an extreme project and will not necessarily lead to anything permanent. But he said that sometimes thinking a bit more is good.
“We’re trying to find a factory for the future and when we were planning a new hall, we thought: Why is it light in the room? For the people, of course. But if there are only machines, no light is needed and then it’s enough just to turn the lights on when someone goes inside.”
Also at the seminar was Anders Granstrand, site manager at Animex in Bredaryd, Sweden. He perceived one advantage above all with automation – it ensures quality. Both quality and expertise are competitive advantages for Sweden in the global market.
“The big issue is to make sure that production doesn’t disappear out of the country. That’s all encompassing for our survival. One big political issue is whether our industrial production should continue with what we’re doing or with something else.”