Close to the Swedish border, surrounded by forests and many years of steel tradition, a highly innovative factory is situated, a factory that has the market gasping.
Solid Scandinavian wood and Swedish steel is the recipe for the high-end furniture that comes from Vestre. Steel painted by two robots. Paint is sprayed onto the steel furniture, evenly applied and with precise quality and no running. This precise action is a part of the story that we in RobNor are delighted to tell you.
Scandinavian furniture history
Vestres giant factory building consists of massive wood and is created in a way that would impress anyone with a passion for highly efficient production lines. The Plus is the largest investment in the Norwegian furniture industry in decades. The factory is already a global showcase for sustainability and highly efficient manufacturing. The various stages in the production process take place in the four factory wings. The materials first enter a warehouse. They then continue to lacquer production and timber processing, before all the furniture components end up in the assembly department and are prepared for delivery in Norway and the rest of the world.
In 2021 RobNor AB installed 2 paintingrobots from ABB. Together with 2 other companies, that supplied paintline and powder equipment, we made this project a great experience. Three companies that together made this possible. RobNor, a Scandinavian company which is a part of Trolltunga Robotics oversees the ABB-cooperation.
– We took a big step towards Industry 4.0 when we made the decision to install these painting robots in our factory. Buying this expensive and advanced tool was followed by a complicated process development phase and learning process. But it has been successful and shown to be very effective, says Lasse Nilsson, Production Manager at Vestre. He has a background from Swedish industry and started in Vestre when The Plus was about to be built.
From 15 minutes to 30 seconds
The reason why Vestre took the investment of the two robots has a lot to do with their need for flexible powder application on a big portfolio of different products. – We also have 200 standard colors that we offer our customers, and we constantly switch from one color to another – an operation that can take up to 10 – 15 minutes in a traditional powder painting facility. With the robots and the adjacent “powder-kitchen” it takes us only 30 seconds! says Nilsson. When a new order comes in and the model, the color and the time for delivery is set, a complete order starts on its way through the factory. After paint-hardening at 180 degrees, cooling down to 40 degrees using heat pump-technology with energy recovery, then the product is almost ready for the customer. From 2015 to 2022 the turnover has increased from 100 to 300 million NOK. – For 2025 our ambition is 500 million NOK, says Nilsson. - This is an annual growth equivalent to approximately 20 %. The US market is growing fast, as is also the situation in Europe.
Makes furniture survive
Furniture from Vestre is now familiar to people and companies all over the world. Since the establishment 75 years ago the family-driven company has gained lots of design awards, sustainability awards and more. Vestre is for many synonymous to green, environmentally friendly, and sustainable production. The factory has been built as a ‘plus house’, which means that the building’s energy consumption is 60 percent lower than equivalent conventional factories, while releasing 55 percent less greenhouse gases than similar buildings. If you include the manufacturing equipment in the equation, energy consumption in The Plus is reduced by 90 percent. With robots installed by RobNor at work in the factory, Vestre is set to deliver more than ever before.
– Runnings projects in leading edge technology is always a nice challenge, and can only be a success if we have good communication within our team, as well as with all other involved parties. Open discussions, also when we struggle, and working together towards the goal, is the key. In the Vestre project, many companies representing different areas of technology, worked together in a proffesional way, says Joakim Heimer, Project Manager in RobNor.
Thank you for the opportunity to cooperate with you, Vestre. Text: Kristin Støle Kalgraff, Hike kommunikasjon