Robots take the strain
Northern Europe has lost a huge number of engineering plants in recent years because of the cheaper production overheads available elsewhere.
Bucking this trend whilst remaining determined to maintain its competitive stance and offer their 4,000+ production employees in Denmark a secure future, Grundfos Pumps have been heavily investing in improving their manufacturing facilities through a variety of means – including the introduction of robots.
Using the robots to undertake the mundane, repetitive and heavy lifting work has freed up employees to perform more of the proactive roles and become more process, as opposed to task, orientated. This has also been a contributory factor to the Danish manufacturing company, the largest in the Grundfos Group, winning the overall hugely prestigious EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) Excellence Award in 2006 for both Corporate Social Responsibility and People Development and Involvement.
In the past four years Grundfos A/S has improved productivity by a staggering 30%, and has recently received further recognition from the Danish Industrial Robot Association who have conferred on them the DIRA Award 2007.
To retain key manufacturing sites in Northern Europe in the next decade will be difficult, however, by utilising both human and robotic skills where both are best deployed as Grundfos is doing, will significantly contribute to its future.