– Kastamonu Entegre is a company that has established themselves as a major player in their local, as well as the global markets. Their focus on automatic grading systems is a perfect example on how the Turkish industry has developed and adjusted to international standards over the past years, says Rune Gotfredsen, Area Sales Manager for Argos Solutions.
Gotfredsen, who has been with Argos Solutions for more than 15 years has firsthand experience when it comes to optimizing production processes in a variety of factories. Prior to his current position, he was head of the support and production department, and has been involved in the commissioning of hundreds of grading systems across the world. Now, he has transitioned to the role as Area Sales Manager, but is still dedicated to the commissioning and performance of the Argos Systems.
High expectations demand innovative solutions
For us, the installation of the Argos system has been a game changer, says Emre Akkus, Production Manager at Kastamonu Entegre, Gebze.
He has been with the company for 18 years and has seen how the production processes and quality demands have changed over the years. Kastamonu Entegre used automatic grading systems for their flooring lines before they decided to install an Argos system for the MFC production.
It has been essential for the company to grade and control every single board, ensuring that they deliver the quality their customers demand and expect. The combination of high production speed, large boards and minimal errors are not an easy task for the human operator and the use of digital inspection systems is now the apparent solution for an effective and smooth-running production process.
10 years ago, there was no EIR surfaces. With EIR (embossed in register, a method used by manufacturers to create the appearance of wood grain similar to real hardwood), small batches and larger color varieties in the panels, it is impossible for the human eye to detect all defects. In addition to this, production quantities increase, whilst cycle time decreases. With the high production capacity, undetected defects have a major impact. All these factors, combined with customers expectation of flawless quality, makes automatic grading systems a trusted and integrated part of our production lines. Now we know that all the panels we sell, and export have the desired quality, says Akkus.
“We cannot calibrate the human eye according to numeric Quality Standards”.
The Argos Automatic Grading System is a high-tech computerized device with integrated cameras and lights. It captures images at lightning speeds and analyzes the board’s surface quality live in the production line.
The AGS Solutions from Argos can control any board size from small components to large master-panels, and work at production speeds of up to 150 m/min. It generates up to 35-megapixel crystal clear images to find even the smallest defect on a large surface. A flexible recipe setup allows the QC management to tailor the sensitivity of the system and specify any number of quality standards based on product, applications, market, or customer.
The system inspects every panel before it either leaves for the customer or moves up in the value-adding chain and enables the producer to maximize the A-quality without sacrificing customer satisfaction.
The MFC grading systems from Argos is a robust system that handles demanding surroundings in the production facility. In addition to precise grading of the panels, the system’s software provides crucial statistical data, error reports and valuable information to the entire production line. The collected data enables further enhancements for the production process. When additional systems are being installed in other sites, the different production facilities will be able to exchange important information and experiences.
There are many advantages with the Argos system. We know that we get the quality we request. It is no longer possible to rely 100% on the human eye for MFC grading. With an automatic grading system, we can adjust the requirements based on the input we get from our customers. We are not able to calibrate our operators in the same way, Akkus says…
A solid relationship
With many of the world’s largest board producers on their customer list, Argos felt they had the expertise, knowledge, and experience to provide Kastamonu Entegre with state-of-the-art grading system. They knew that the Turkish company was looking to optimize their production and reached out to offer cooperation. This resulted in the installation of an automatic grading system for their melamine faced (MFC) MDF and particle boards in Gebze.
– Our first project together with Kastamonu Entegre in Gebze was a success, says Rune. Kastamonu Entegre has been both professional, pro-active, and very supportive when it comes to cooperating and finding the best solutions for the factory and the operators. MFC grading is a demanding task for the human eye. It is difficult to detect faults on large boards and that’s one of the reasons why it is important for us to provide solutions that the operators and the company can trust, says Gotfredsen.
For Argos, it is the opportunity to develop, innovate and grow together with their customers and partners that makes a solid foundation for success. Previous collaborations, with big players such as Egger, Uniboard and Pfleiderer have resulted in innovations and improvements that has benefited the entire industry and their quality inspection.
– Our cooperation with Argos has been very good, says Akkus. A customer-supplier relationship such as ours will not work well without close cooperation, and I believe that we continue to develop the system to the better together. When we suggest improvements, Argos is always positive to support and discuss our feedback. Their experiences from quality grading at some of the world’s largest panel producers have been very valuable for our production and focus on quality inspection, he concludes.
Increased flexibility, reliable results
– Both operators and management have learned that the Argos systems are helping and improving our production. The system does not replace our employees, it enables us to use our resources better. To be able to define the acceptable quality level from management, and not leave this responsibility to the different operators, secures a consistent and reliable grading that is not dependent on the human variables, says Akkus.
Per now, Kastamonu Entegre has one Argos system in operation, but they have placed orders for several additional systems. The two companies have also started an innovative cooperation that will be a breakthrough for a new segment in the Argos grading portfolio.
– This cooperation is beneficial for both of us, and we strongly believe that this will provide Kastamonu Entegre with increased flexibility, higher performance, and a better user experience for the operators. The system we are developing together has so far delivered above and beyond expectations. We are confident that this new addition can beat any competitor in the field, says Gotfredsen.
Kastamonu Entegre produces raw and melamine coated particle boards, glossy panels, MDF, laminate flooring, tops, door panels and value-added products for the needs of the furniture, decoration, and construction sectors. The company employs nearly 7000 people and has production facilities in six countries.
Argos Solutions, based in Kongsberg, Norway, is a world leading technology company that has developed digital inspection systems since 1997. Their core business is engineering, design and manufacture of Surface Grading Systems and Panel Repair Systems for the wood panel and building industry worldwide. The company has delivered more than 400 systems to customers all over the world.