Halton Group is the world's leading provider of indoor air solutions. Indoor air solutions are divided into four segments: Marine, Health, Foodservice, and Buildings. The company is owned by the Halttunen family and headquartered in Helsinki. In addition to Finland, the company currently has production facilities in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, China, and Malaysia. In eight of these countries, the company also has facilities for research and product development. Halton also manufactures products under license in South Africa, Mexico, New Zealand and Australia. Halton Group employs approximately 1,550 people in over 30 countries. The company’s turnover in 2018 was approximately EUR 218 million. Halton has always closely monitored the company’s productivity, costs and the value its products provide to customers. The company has its sights set on growth, and a big enabler for growth is cost-efficient sheet metal production that can be scaled across the world, if necessary. The company wanted to partner with a global machine supplier that could facilitate this growth.
In Finland, Prima Power has been Halton’s partner at the Kausala factory for a long time.
“We had already invested in the current automated storage system, Night Train, in 2007. At that time, two punching machines/right-angle shears and a bending center were included in the system, and the investment paid off within 18 months.”
Savings and efficiency from multiple angles
Savings were made by minimizing coil-line length loss and capitalizing on the purchase prices of coil material as compared to sheet-metal material. Furthermore, the efficiency of the right-angle shear meant that more parts could be brought to the nest, sheet-frame volume could be minimized, and machine processing time for sheets could be optimized and shortened. Similarly, the quality of the parts and their performance during assembly improved significantly, as the chip marks left by the turret punch press disappeared when we implemented right-angle shear technology.
The answer to the question of whether it was worth investing in automation and using Night Train storage automation and right-angle shears was obvious:
- “It definitely was. With our current capacity, we would probably need five standalone machines and separate operators for each of them for every shift to replace our two right-angle shears. Therefore, we would need a total of 15 workers to operate five machines in three shifts. In addition, we would need a forklift operator for each of the shifts to transfer sheets from one location to another. Five standalone machines would also require individual tools, meaning that tool costs would be ridiculous when compared to our current situation. We would not have achieved our current level of storage-space savings, nor would we have the requisite inventories. The sheets and parts remain in storage, and we know the exact content and volume in storage at all times. Also, our raw material does not get damaged on the storage shelves, and our production facilities are kept clean. We have been extremely satisfied with the benefits of the Night Train storage system and right-angle shears. We would not be able to keep up with our current part volumes without it,” says production technology manager Kari Virkki.