Customer case Axelent's new production line X-line 5
Customer case Production line for the manufacturing of mesh walls
We have taken a deep dive into one of our major projects together with Axelent, which will be fully completed in the autumn of 2023. It is a completely new production line – X-line 5, which with increased productivity, robustness and smooth navigation takes Axelent into the next stage of their development journey for even more safe workplaces worldwide. Follow this interview with project manager Sara Ekman from Axelent and Andreas Sandberg from Axelent Engineering.
Sara Ekman, project manager Axelent
Tell us a bit about this production line and what it produces
– X-line 5 is a new production line that produces our mesh walls in different sizes. It can produce a wider range of products than our previous production lines, with better performance and quality.
Can you tell us a bit about your role, and your involvement in this project?
– I joined Axelent in the spring of 2022 as a project manager and became involved in this project when the machine was already ordered. My role throughout the process has been to ensure that the production line is manufactured at the right pace, and that all parts are delivered on time. It has also been my role to follow up the entire installation procedure and be the spider in the web towards all the suppliers involved, which has meant close contact between our staff and Axelent Engineering. A lot is about problem solving during the project so that it runs as smoothly as possible.
– For my part, it has of course been very much about contact with subcontractors – where Axelent Engineering is a major part, but also several other players. It involves everything from making sure that everyone gets the right information about the timetable, installations, to which people should be on site and when so that the various players can co-operate.
What has been the journey of the project? Can you tell us a bit about the process?
– The start of such a large investment is about identifying an increased need for capacity. Initially, the products that need to be produced in the new machine are identified. This resulted in a need to be able to produce existing products but with a higher output and a wider range. Once this plan is finalised and it is known what is needed, the machine supplier itself is involved and those who are also involved with components in such a large production line (such as mesh welding, web systems, etc. that other suppliers provide). There is also a technical group with participants from both Axelent and Axelent Engineering who continuously collaborate throughout the process.
– Then there is a fairly long design process where the machine is drawn and then these drawings are passed back and forth until we are satisfied, then the machine is built and approved on site at Axelent Engineering, and finally we have the installation phase when the machine is built in the right place. Now test production starts and then the project is finally approved through testing (SAT – Supplier Acceptance Test). In SAT, some predetermined products are run for a certain time and then it is released from the supplier. We then have an internal evaluation work to do with us where we ensure that the machine produces stably and according to expectations before it can be fully released to be taken over by production. So we can probably say the whole project takes about 2.5 years.
– We are delighted to have completed this extensive project this autumn.
What would you say are the biggest challenges with such a large project?
– Unpredictable events are always a challenge, and you will always have to deal with them. There are many people involved and collaboration between all the different actors is of course also a challenge that requires clarity and constant communication. In my role as project manager, it is important to bring the whole thing together and ensure that we do everything in the right order and at the right time so that the collaboration works as well as possible. Communication in such an extensive project is a key factor.
What has been most rewarding during this journey?
– The most challenging part is actually also the part that I see as most rewarding – the collaboration of working with such competent and solution-oriented people. I am driven by seeing so much expertise where we can meet and discuss, always with the starting point that we will find a solution. There is a high level of cooperation between us at Axelent and Axelent Engineering. I feel that opinions are received in the right way and they choose to constantly seek solutions to challenges. This makes it easy to co-operate.
How much will Axelent be able to increase its production capacity through this production line?
– We are increasing production step by step with a completely new production line, but in the long run this will obviously increase our production capacity a lot. Through all the updates and steps forward that have been made with this production line, it will both simplify and streamline our production.
Can you tell us a bit about how the co-operation with Axelent Engineering has been?
– The co-operation has worked very well! We have high ceilings, can discuss a lot and have close and fast communication when needed. The collaboration between Axelent and Axelent Engineering has been going on for many years, which means that they know us very well. It is of course a great advantage to have their prior knowledge when we are developing our business.
Andreas Sandberg, project manager Axelent Engineering
– Axelent and Axelent Engineering have been working together for a long time and have a well-developed cooperation since previous projects. In this production line, a significantly higher production capacity was needed. To achieve the new goals set for this project, we have both analysed our previously delivered production lines to Axelent, and looked at new technology and new processes. We do this through our own workshops as well as joint workshops with technical groups from both companies. It is a close co-operation where everyone really gets to speak with their experiences, which gives a very good group dynamic. The technical expertise and the short decision paths in the group provide the conditions for successful automation projects.
– When we talk about production capacity, all key factors such as quality, cycle time, stability, operator interface, service intervals, etc. are equally important to achieve sustainable production over time.
– Working with the latest technology is a matter of course for us who are in an industry where development is moving forward very quickly. Designing, simulating and programming the machines virtually before they are physically built provides the opportunity to verify processes early in the projects and thus shorten the project time but also reduce costs.
– We are passionate about making our customers competitive!
– I think we have a fantastic collaboration that is completely open and unpretentious where everyone is involved and contributes with their experience. The technical interest and drive that exists in both organisations always guarantees successful joint projects.