Vestfrost Solutions in Esbjerg produces refrigerators and freezers and is one of the world’s largest producers of freezer compartments. Since the company started in 1963 more than 12 million units have been produced. Today the company has focus on B-2-B market only (business to business) after selling the household department in 2008.
In connection with the company’s production of bottle coolers – ordered by companies such as e.g. Coca Cola, Red Bull etc. – standing at petrol stations and wine coolers for retailers and restaurants Vestfrost Solutions considered having the glass doors for the bottle coolers produced in China, which could immediately give the company a
considerable economical cost reduction. The problem about China was the long distance, which caused lead times of 50 days. – That is too long time compared to our lead time of 5 weeks, maintenance technician Jørn Strand tells. However Vestfrost Solutions had good experience making foamed doors and wanted to produce glass doors themselves. These had until then been sourced at a Danish
The Danish subcontractor with whom Vestfrost Solutions cooperated with was however uncompetitive. Vestfrost Solutions therefore checked the possibility to buy a new robotic machine for production of glass doors. After thorough preliminary examinations and tests it ended up with purchasing a Kawasaki-robot from a Danish supplier. An investment of 4 million DKK.
Interesting – having glue, that hardened quickly
First there was however another obstacle for insourcing the glass door production, that had to be solved – the gluing process. The joint filler the previous subcontractor used for gluing the glass to the aluminum doorframe had to be placed for several days at an intermediate storage to harden before Vestfrost Solutions could continue working at the door in the production process.
- Instead of having a big intermediate storage we found it interesting having a glue, that hardened very fast and made it possible to use the door immediately and skip the intermediate storage and the
binding in this, Jørn Strand explains.
A glue supplier was engaged for the project, but backed out early.The following contact to Hans Bay, sales consultant at PKI Supply A/S made the difference after some meetings and a couple of tests of two different glue types from PKI Supply´s international business partner Henkel.
Hans Bay is a familiar face at Vestfrost Solutions and has turned up in the company through his 14-year employment at PKI Supply delivering assembly hot-melt glue. The glue attaches cooling pipes in the cabinets and used as sealing of the inner box before it is foamed
with insulation material.
The demands from Vestfrost Solutions were evident – a glue that hardens quickly and could meet the standard for professional products with more than 400.000 door openings, made in a testing plant
without the glass on the door frame falls of. The door is further stressed
exposing it to coldness, heat and water. Hefty but realistic demands since the glass door meets the similar arduous treatment at the petrol station, at the retail or at the restaurant.
Only 2 min. and the glue from PKI Supply ensures that the glass attaches the door
A reactive hot melt glue - Purfect 310 – from PKI Supply became the solution after test at the testing plant. 700,000 door openings were accomplished. 4 to 6 knobs were worn out and door fittings were changed twice without the glass came loose. With the glue the adhesion of the glass in principle happened after 2 minutes. Today this means, to Vestfrost Solutions, that they can move directly from the glass production to the production line, where the door is assembled with the cabinet. In other words this means no intermediate storage and therefore increased productivity.
Centralizing of the glass in the door was previously a problem due to the long drying- and hardening time. That problem was correspondingly eliminated with the reactive hot melt from PKI Supply A/S.
The glue process in brief
The robot starts with putting the glass plate in a surface planer, where it slides down into a corner. Afterwards the glass for the frame is moved and assembled by measurement. The glue head is brought from the stand and gives a glue joint so precisely that 20 grams are
enough to assemble the glass door.
ROI-value a huge plus
Factory Manager Bent Nielsen – It has been a huge plus to take home the production, since we are now able to produce by order. We are not dependent on an uncertain forecast, that we would be forced to use at outsourcing. Intermediate storage of glass doors is practically zero, because the glass door can be used a few minutes later in the further production process. Finally we in no time can convert to producing the doors we need.
Vestfrost Solutions has calculated a payback time of the production cell of only 1,5 year.