Case Studies » Ideal Boilers
We at Ideal have been continually developing with ALPHR in delivering new production methods and techniques in order to deliver a flexible platform to produce a wide and varied product range. Throughout the last three years we have made a strong partnership and are happy to continue our working relationship, moving forward for the future.
We believe at Ideal that with the help of ALPHR, we have increased our market share by being more adaptable to an ever increasing and demanding customer base. Our increased quality and reputation has been evident over the last few years since we launched our new products.
I strongly believe that ALPHR will help us to keep ahead of the competion and make Ideal leaner and more efficient.Paul Turner, Manufacturing Engineer - Ideal Boilers
A typical boiler produced by Ideal Boilers has more than a hundred component parts. Ensuring that these parts are correctly assembled for every boiler the company makes is a challenging task, even with intensive manual inspection.
Ideal Boilers decided, therefore, to investigate automated inspection techniques and found that vision systems from Omron Electronics, which were supplied, configured and installed by ALPHR Technology, provided an effective solution that not only eliminated errors and omissions in the assembly of the boilers, but also maximised the output of the production line.
As the only company in its field to achieve World Class Manufacturer Accreditation, Ideal Boilers is fiercely proud of the quality of its products. Achieving and maintaining the highest levels of quality with products as complex as commercial and domestic heating boilers is, however, not an easy task, given the very large number of components that make up each boiler assembly. In the past, the company had relied heavily on manual inspection, but had found that, despite the best efforts of the inspectors, boilers with assembly defects sometimes made it through to the end of the production line.
These defects were in virtually every case detected on test, but this led to another problem: because of the relatively large number of rejects it was being called upon to handle, the test station became a bottleneck that restricted overall productivity.
For help in implementing a new production line that would address these problems, Ideal Boilers approached ALPHR Technology, a company with extensive and proven experience of developing and manufacturing bespoke production equipment. The objective was not, however, simply to install a traditional production line where products are inspected for defects after assembly is complete, but to adopt instead a “zero defects forward” approach.
This involves inspecting a product after each major step in assembly, so that defects can be recognised and corrected before the product moves on to the next step.
The key benefit is that reworking an error that has just been made is usually easy, quick and inexpensive. In addition, no time or money is wasted on completing the assembly of a defective product that, in all probability, will ultimately need to be disassembled to allow the defect to be corrected.
Because of the complexity of the boilers, ALPHR Technology quickly decided that conventional techniques for deciding whether components had been properly fitted, such as the use of ordinary photoelectric and proximity sensors, would be inadequate. It therefore proposed the use of vision systems, selecting products from the Omron range as the basis of its designs because of their versatility, proven performance, ease of use and value for money.