Kemeling plastics pioneer with robotic welding

Kemeling Kunststoffen in Naaldwijk develops and produces high-quality industrial plastic containers, tanks, wells, boxes and cabinets with the help of a robot. The company pioneered this already 6 years ago and now has 3 welding robot installations with which round and rectangular plastic products are made in larger numbers. "The robots support the employees, taking over the work where it becomes monotonous. With the use of the robots, we can now serve new markets with larger quantities and larger dimensions, which we were not previously equipped for, says owner Robert Kemeling.

Kemeling Kunststoffen

Kemeling Kunststoffen makes plastic products for horticulture, yacht building, water treatment and the firefighting sector, among others. Mostly for storage of solid and liquid substances. The company builds those products largely from flat PE, PE and PP plastic sheets ranging from 6 to 30 mm thick. Those sheets are cut to size and milled into contours, after which the individual components are assembled into an end product using thermal welding.


Robert Kemeling: "Joining the plate parts in a high quality requires a certified welder. But handling the welding extruder is also ergonomically demanding, especially with larger quantities and dimensions. Our idea was therefore to implement a robot with a welding extruder to initially automate monotonous welding. After experimenting with a used robot, we submitted our concept to robot integrator Valk Welding. They developed it into a working robot cell with which we could weld round tanks up to 3 m ø both internally and externally with the robot on a base plate. The table rotates at a speed that the extruder can keep up with".

New possibilities

"With the robot, we achieved significant savings in labour costs and were able to increase quality. Production capacity went up because 1 employee could now work on 2 trays simultaneously. In addition, the robot works in a constant uninterrupted movement, resulting in consistently high quality. For our employees, this meant less strain. It soon became clear to us that the use of the robot offered new opportunities to meet demands that we had previously left unfulfilled. For example, we made 200 tanks for an algae farm and over 200 scooters with plastic containers for PostNL."


Shortly thereafter, the company moved to a larger location, with room for a second larger similar robotic cell. Kemeling also digitized production, raised the organisation to a higher level and expanded the milling department. "Those investments have led to a professionalization drive that has enabled us to achieve a healthy 55% growth in sales over the past six years.

3rd robotic cell for rectangular products

For the past two years, Kemeling has been working on preparing a robotic cell to also be able to thermally weld rectangular products. "Think tanks for water treatment and sprinkler tanks". Meanwhile, a large installation, also from Valk Welding, is now in place for this purpose, where the robot hangs from a gallows which moves along a track. This allows the robot to reach all positions within the product with the welding extruder. We could not have made such large products without the robots".

With only a robot you are not there

"Most of the knowledge and experience is in how to compensate for the size loss that occurs due to melting. We have recorded that knowledge in the offline programming and simulation software of Valk Welding. This also offers the possibility of parametric programming. With this, we make custom work based on standardization. It is sufficient to adjust only the dimensions. Therefore, you do not have to completely reprogram every new product. So, the software is an important part of the process. A robot alone is not enough," emphasizes Robert Kemeling.

Man continues to lead

The robots have taken over much monotonous work from the certified welders. "But humans still remain the leading factor in production. We see the use of the robots as supportive, with a focus on cooperation. While the robots weld, our employees do the preparatory tasks and the more specialized operations. The upside is in the savings in labour costs, higher consistent quality, larger quantities and the relief of our employees. With the 3 robot installations, we are open to new markets and products," concludes Robert Kemeling.


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