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Material Handling System for Flat Finishing Line

Year: 2011
Application: Material Handling Solutions

New project: major furniture manufacturer automates areas of production and finishing.

Stanley Furniture installs automated handling projects to ensure maximum productivity going into the future.

Stanley Furniture is known throughout the industry for products of superior quality. Their company standards are high and the level of skilled labor is great in order to achieve their product quality goals in materials, finishing and construction. Stanley continues to use traditional joinery construction which many producers have moved away from, due to escalating cost.

In 2010, Stanley decided to bring back to America their Young America line of baby to teenage furniture. To make the homecoming a successful venture, the company had to focus on reducing production costs while expanding its production capacity and offering a quick turnaround time on customer choice color schemes. Stanley's management believed that they needed to not only automate many of their processes but also streamline the flow of material throughout. The processing equipment was the key to achieving their productivity targets and meeting the order turnaround time targets set by its distributor network. Stanley's managers canvassed the 2011 Ligna Fair in Germany looking for a companies offering flexible material handling solution to partner with. After meeting with Doucet Machineries, the base for that partnership was cast.

Standard and Custom Handling Solutions

Stanley needs were two fold: it needed to automate standard processes (finish sanding, moulding, and edgebanding), as well as to build a customized «closed loop» material handling system around its newly acquired flat finishing line. Doucet supplied several feeding and return systems to automate many of the basic processes. Multiple wide belt sanders and moulders now no longer require two operators to feed and catch the production. This greatly increases the value of each employee in these departments, allowing their focus on more complex production tasks thus reducing labor content by 50% or more.

Finishing and Packaging: Reduce labor and processing time, while increasing plant space

Stanley needed to automate the flow around its new flat line, then to bring the finished product to its packaging system. This project began with the finishing line. After each finishing pass, employees had to manually stage and track every part. This took up tremendous floor space and a great deal of labor time. Doucet provided a «closed loop solution» that fully automates this task of routing the product throughout the multiple passes of coating and curing, then directing those products to the packaging facility. A roving laser guide allows forming 10' long batches that the smart handling system tracks and directs throughout the entire process. Since curing between passes time is 3 times longer than the actual coating time, Doucet developed a multi-layer staging conveyor that has shrunk the lines footprint by nearly 50%, allowing the implementation of the second phase of Stanley's project. Finished furniture parts are automatically transferred to an inspection and packaging line leading to a system that wraps and seals, ready for shipment to the retailer.

Not only did the fully automated «closed loop» and «exit to packaging» system greatly minimized labor and space needs for Stanley's Robbinsville NC plant, it brought forward new efficiency improvement ideas that fit perfectly with Stanley's long term objectives. Since the completion of this project, Doucet continues to be a supplier for Stanley Furniture for additional return conveyors and clamping systems.



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