Humard Automation SA in Delémont (Switzerland) designs and implements turnkey production lines for manufacturers of components needed for clocks, vehicles, jewelry, cosmetics, and medicine. “Our customers have many requirements, but flexibility is one of their top priorities”, explained Fabio Carabotti, Project Manager at Humard. High productivity with just one product is not adequate in today’s market. Most customers produce several designs or even several different products, all of which will have to be changed in a relatively short time to produce successor models. The main solution for this challenge is a systematic modularization of production cells. Humard has driven this fundamental, design-based flexibility to a new level by offering the smallest possible, compact modules in various grid dimensions. They can be combined with each other as well as interposed between process units, such as presses, cutters and welding stations. And they can be linked with manual workstations, handling systems or robots. These lines can be easily and quickly adapted for the new production by simply modifying, exchanging or reconfiguring the modules. Even when changing over to different products, these modules often can be retrofitted and reused for the new line.
“The development of an automation solution can be compared to the creation of a tailored suit. It must be adjusted for an exact fit that meets all customer requirements,” says F. Carabotti. The sooner Humard is included in the development process, the better is the outcome. By close cooperation with the customer’s respective departments during engineering, we can make meaningful adjustments to adapt the product design to the requirements set by the production process. “This consultation is a significant part of the development process,” emphasized Carabotti. “Together with our customer, we design the entire production process. Then we will implement the process completely up to the final delivery of the turnkey system.” Humard also assumes responsibility for technical components, like machine tools or certain robots, which it purchases from thoroughly vetted partners. The Swiss engineering firm focuses mainly on design, assembly, programming, and service. Major basic components, like frames for the modules, are produced internally or by an affiliated company. In addition, they are supported by a large network of proven suppliers. Due to the enormous and constantly growing range of available technologies and machines, they continuously partner with new businesses that first must pass their rigorous qualification testing. the lathe was its a total cycle time of just 7s, as this is critical to the productivity of the entire production line. Since Humard could not find a ready solution in the market, the Swiss company started looking for a supplier that could retrofit a suitable standard machine to achieve the required features.
For small batch production with Siemens controller and electronic handwheels for switching to conventional turning