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A successful installation in a demanding environment.

The Armitage Shanks plant in Rugeley is situated in the middle of what is known as the “Pottery District” in central England with a proud history going back as long as 1817. 
The plant has a strong innovation history with several important innovations regarding ceramic production like the famous Shanks battery casting method for wash basins.

Today the factory is an integrated part of the pan European production network of Ideal Standard International with focus on supplying high quality sanitary ware products to the UK market.
To facilitate this target the factory has successfully implemented a high focus on automation and engineering as well as process optimization and the Plant is today the leading production facility for Sanitary ware in the UK.

This was the background when Ideal Standard nominated the Rugeley plant to develop a new group-standard for robot spray guns for glaze application.

After investigating different options, the task was given to us in Crescocito, due to our flexibility, high quality products and most important the excellent track record of 
aftersales service in both Automotive and in Ceramic applications.

We were given the challenging task to replace the majority of the existing spray guns with a new modern system during normal production, without disturbing the production flow or quality during the changeover. The target for the replacement was to increase the product quality, improve the reliability of the spray guns and at the same time reduce the maintenance and spare part costs substantially. 

Cl 80

This task was ideal for our Crescocito CLA 80 gun for glaze application, which is a high precision tool with very few movable parts, produced in suitable materials, mounted on a fixed connection plate for easy changeover to facilitate external preventive maintenance.  All together this forms a simple but precise and high performing solution.

After a first site visit from Crescocito our experts suggested together with the local team to rebuild one unit as a pilot unit. 

All parameters and the performance of the old system were measured, and the new glaze guns were set up to enable a smooth transition between the old and the new gun. After the initial test, it was proven that the new system could be installed without any changes in the robot program or glaze supply. Visually the unfired glaze was better distributed, with smoother surface than from the old system, something which was also proven by the glaze appearance after firing.

High precision air cap and glaze nozzle.

After a successful and problem free test period in the pilot unit, where also the reliability and simplicity of the system was demonstrated, Ideal Standard launched the main project to replace all the guns in the main production areas of the plant. The profitability of the project was based mainly on the reduced maintenance cost, but also higher reliability, less down time and better product quality was expected from of the new spray guns.

Within the first phase of the project,  all main workstations were, one by one during 4 months, equipped with new spray guns by the local team in close cooperation and support from our Crescocito team. Also several tailor made solutions for spray applications were introduced as a development from the main project, such as mounting plates for double guns, angled nozzles for under rim glazing etc.

CLA 80 on its fixed mounting plate.

Aidan Hodgkiss, the local project engineer, is excited about the performance of the new spray guns:

My experience with Crescocito has been exceptional, they have clearly built a business based on supporting its customers and make things happen. 

I was very excited going forward with the new Crescocito guns as they offered great reliability based on their simplicity, quality and easy service. During the transition period the knowledge from Crescocito, regarding the ceramic process and how to test the performance of the guns helped us to make the swap easy and smooth.

During the project our site team was trained to a high standard by the Crescocito engineer regarding the maintenance of the new spray guns, and I found Crescocito very supportive and their knowledge priceless regarding best practice in different areas. It has been a pleasure working with Teuvo Pöyhönen and his team.

CL 80 in production

The overall outcome of the project is fulfilling the expectations in all areas:

  • Glaze quality has been improved and stabilized.
  • Glaze defects have been reduced by less than half.
  • Maintenance cost has dropped to very low numbers.
  • Spray gun repairs have been reduced to almost zero.
  • Down time has been almost eliminated due to less failures and PM.
  • Preventive maintenance 2 times per year has been introduced supported by the simple spray gun changing method and standardized guns.

As a bonus also several other areas have been improved based on the advice from the experienced Crescocito team such as glaze pumps, connecting hoses, measuring devices, cleaning methods and spare part storage. 
All together a successful joint project between Ideal Standard and Crescocito teams! 

As a result of the profitable project in Rugeley the Ideal Standard Technical Group Management prepares next step; to install the Crescocito guns in other plants in the production network.

For more information please contact:  
Teuvo Pöyhönen 
MD/ Sales
+46 (0)76 - 203 01 46 

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