11 October, 2019

Founded in 1927, J. Rotherham, one of the biggest UK manufacturers of bespoke kitchen worktops, stone fireplaces and architectural components in complex shapes and all sizes, continues to stand at the forefront of technological innovation applied to the production of natural and engineered stone components.

To guarantee the highest possible levels of customer satisfaction and meet increasingly stringent time-to-market demands, J. Rotherham decided to invest in the latest and most innovative technology by acquiring a Breton plant for fully automated production of quartz worktops.

The heart of the plant lies in the Breton Xpress Top smart software suite, which controls the entire worktops production cycle.

The package chosen by the UK company includes three modules: Design, Inventory and Production.

This solution, which has been fully integrated with J. Rotherham’s ERP system, has reduced the firm’s operating costs and brought big gains in terms of competitiveness.

The plant provides for identification of each slab in the new Breton By Mistrello vertical storage system to allow selective picking for order lists.

The Breton By Mistrello slab storage system is capable of supplying the new production plant and the two Smartcut SNC 550 OPTIMA lines previously installed in the same J. Rotherham production facility.

The slab storage and handling system was completely designed to J. Rotherham’s specifications. 

Large quantities of slabs in the smallest possible space, the creation of a flexible system to supply multiple cutting lines, fully automatic offcuts management: these are just some of the essential aspects that concur in defining the enormous potential of this type of storage system.

On departing from the storage system, the slabs are first cut to size to obtain the various components of the kitchen worktop. 

The pieces are then forwarded to the downstream workstations in accordance with the established workflow logic.

The type of bespoke kitchens manufactured for the UK market called for an exceptionally flexible cutting system that could also offer the precision guaranteed by Breton

That is why the UK company opted for two Breton Combicut combined diamond blade and waterjet cutting systems with 5 interpolated axes.

The cut pieces, offcuts, and the largest pieces of scrap are unloaded from the cutting station automatically and forwarded to the downstream processing stages.

The slab edges are prepared on the Breton ODFlex By Optidrive edge polisher, where the entire polishing phase is managed without operator intervention thanks to the use of an industrial robot.

Pieces requiring a sink and/or hob cutout, plus other types of edge processing or drainage grooves are machined on a robot island composed of 6 Breton NC300 K26 Robocup contouring machines with a robot tending system.

The automation system was designed to optimise workpiece management times, reduce the number of operators needed for the loading/unloading process, and to move the material through the process efficiently with the shortest possible cycle times.

Another result of this system is the creation of a safe workplace for operators, while simultaneously minimising the risk of damage to materials associated with manual handling operations.

The Industry 4.0 plant, equipped with robots and smart software for production planning and productivity management, gives the company a major competitive edge on the market.

The production cycle is tracked and monitored right up to the stage of quality control and shipment to the end customer.

The intense collaboration between Breton and J. Rotherham during the plant project, development, installation and startup phases made it possible to fulfill the customer’s requirements in the shortest possible time.


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