It was a real pleasure to meet Mr. Arnulf Thorn, Production Manager and Mr. Niels Mueller, Project Manager, in Stein am Rhein, in Switzerland, close to the German border.
Could you briefly describe your company ?
Knecht und Müller, family company (5th generation) has been present on the Swiss market since 1914. Currently, we employ 51 persons and reach a production of 300.000 lenses per year.
Since 1980, we are independent agent of Hoya company, which is a high technology driven industrial partner.
What about the Swiss Market ?
The Swiss market is running well. It’s a high demanding, innovative and quality driven market.
Why did you decide to automize your production ?
In fact, we decided to reduce the manual intervention during the manufacturing process.
The less lens handling you have, the less risks to damage the lens surface. Personally, I already knew A&R equipment, but the capacity of the existing control machines (MCTVP) was not adapted to Knecht production capacity. The arrival of the new generation of control and pad printing unit (RobCtrl) was a real chance !
The return on invest (approx. 2.5 years) was not the point. The objective by buying this compact equipment was to increase the quality of the finished products.
What about the integration of the RobCtrl in your environment ?
From the technical and IT points of view, Mr. Niels Müller points out that the integration was quite simple, especially thanks to the Optovision Software (Optoware), developed by Dr. Freyermuth and Mr. Ludewig, and thanks to some specific adaptations made by A&R project engineer.
After accepting the equipment, Knecht staff (a little bit reluctant at the beginning), appreciates the high repeatability and accuracy of the measurements and the reliability of the robot.
What are the main advantages of the RobCtrl ?
As I just mentioned, the main advantage is the accuracy and repeatability of the power measurements. Furthermore, the robot is very flexible and well adapted to our production flow (30 seconds per lens). The statistical data are an important tool in the context of our ISO Certification, to track the different jobs sent to the opticians, to have a direct feedback on the production process, which is optimized.
In conclusion, the RobCtrl is accurate, reliable, compact, adapted to our production and …. Never has health problems !!