Nov 1, 2023

Inspection in direct coating lines at Unilin

Translation of the German article at "MDF Magazin 2023":

Baumer Inspection GmbH from Constance - worldwide successful with inspection systems for the wood-based materials industry - is currently looking back on the success story in two direct coating lines of its long-standing customer Unilin Panels in B- Wielsbeke.

Unilin has been relying on Baumer inspection systems in its flooring lines in Belgium and the USA for more than 20 years. In 2019 and 2021, Unilin also invested in inspection in two direct coating lines - with impressive results. Here is Unilin's experience after three years of fully automated inspection in the KT lines:

Reliable detection, alarming and rejection

With the introduction of quality assurance through inspection in its coating lines, Unilin has essentially pursued the intention of reducing the complaint rate. This goal has been convincingly achieved in recent years with the help of Baumer systems. Defects that were previously overlooked by humans during the final inspection are now reliably detected, alarmed and rejected by the MFC4.0 systems. As the Baumer systems "see" more defects than humans, the reject rate initially increased. By consistently analyzing the causes of defects and the timely intervention of the production team to eliminate the sources of defects, the reject rate could be contained in a controlled manner in the long term. The Baumer quality management system Q-Live® and the alarming of serial defects and reject plates by the inspection systems are helpful in analyzing the causes. By using additional operator terminals, the production team is informed of reject defects such as paper inclusions, paper laying errors, damage, pressure marks, etc. at various points on the KT line (before the press during paper laying and at the inspection system between the edge scraper and cooling turner) and can react quickly.

Whole package of costs saved

After initial skepticism, the two Baumer systems were fully accepted by the Unilin production team following extensive training. As their knowledge grew, the benefits and helpful support provided by the inspection systems were appreciated by the team. After about 6 months of implementation and testing, Unilin relied on the results of the Baumer systems, resulting in a saving of one person per shift and line. The fully automatic communication between the Baumer MFC4.0 system and the Unilin line control ensures a smooth process with product data transfer from Unilin and detailed result transfer to Unilin and the Baumer database system Q-Live® for later detailed data analysis. To summarize, Unilin saves the following: costs for complaints, personnel, avoidable rejects.

Finally, a brief résumé from Unilin Panels project manager Tim Gobert, who played an intensive and leading role in the introduction of the Baumer MFC4.0 systems at the B-Wielsbeke plant: "For Unilin Panels the Baumer inspection system has been a helpful tool to improve our quality towards the customer. We deliver more consistent and better quality with less people at the line."

Author: Detlef Schröder, Product Manager at Baumer Inspection

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