The production strategy of the leading Nordic ceramic tableware manufacturer is being made more competitive. Dosetec was one of the modernizers of this famous Arabia Factory.
The business strategy of Arabia ceramic factory was recently refined. This production facility making Iittala and Arabia products is today the biggest ceramic tableware factory in the Nordic countries. The different product lines are dry extrusion lines for manufacturing plates and bowls, forming lines for manufacturing platters and bowls and also pressure and manual casting lines.
Considerable investments in product development
The strengths of the Arabia factory´s diverse production portfolio are its spectacular colour glazes and high quality glazes, its own mass and glass recipe development and manufacturing, materials research, its own single firing technique and technical product development. – We put a lot of weight on product development and other development resources. Directing operations more towards manufacturing selected products also means that the resources are mostly used in developing the manufacturing processes of these products, according to Materials Development & Laboratory Manager Päivi Nurmi.
With this in mind the factory has been renewed by combining high class finish design with new, more efficient production models. Dosetec Exact was chosen to be one of the partners.
Productive union of Finnish design and engineering skills
Natural minerals are used in the production of moulding mass and glaze. Precise dosing is vital to achieve a successful result.
– The main ingredients of both moulding mass and glaze are quartz and feldspar. The other raw materials are clay, kaolin, alumina, chalk and dolomite, Nurmi says.
Dosetec delivered to the factory a comprehensive control and dosing system for dosing dry materials for the different processes.
– We chose Dosetec for our equipment supplier, because we have known the company for years as an expert in dosing. The equipment they deliver is suitable for our needs. We also knew Dosetec to be a reliable partner.
The dry material dosing system represents the latest technology. The dosing error is practically non-existent. The process as well as the parameters can be controlled by the operator. The operating system is based on the reliable Siemens S7-300 PLC and the user interface is operated with a user-friendly touchscreen.
The capacity of the new mass and glaze production facility can be up to 1 600 tons per year.
– In the old system, the sacks of raw material were emptied into separate silos, out of which they were then directed into dosing. Now, the ingredients are dosed straight from the big bag stations. There are now fewer phases in the handling of the ingredients and the whole dosing process is much simpler than before. This in turn improves the work environment and efficiency. Quality and dosing precision requirements were naturally high before as well. – The equipment enables flexible production and changes in manufactured product quantities are easy. It is easy to change the raw material to another because they have not been stored in separate silos. So another unnecessary step, emptying the silo, can be avoided. – Production using the new equipment started fully at the beginning of August. The initial experience has been very good. We have also been satisfied with the service we have received and the installation of the equipment went well. Start-up of the dosing system has been easy and we received good support from Dosetec during it, Nurmi says.
With the help of the Dosetec state-of-the-art dosing system, the Arabia factory is further strengthening its position as the leading manufacturer of tableware ceramics. At the same time it is enhancing its competitive capabilities far into the future.