Differences on automation practices in wooden single-family houses manufacturing: Four case studies
Paper i proceeding, 2017
In densely forested countries, forest and wood based products are generally an important contributing factor to the country’s economy. Especially wood product industries, such as furniture or joinery industries, add a lot of economic value. A large portion of employment positions are linked directly or indirectly to forest and wood product industries. In Europe´s highly industrialized countries, labor costs influence wood product companies rather negatively and put high pressure on them to stay competitive. Some of those companies have chosen outsourcing of their operations and production as means to survive. Another way, already successfully proven in other industries, is the automation of production processes by among others introduction of industrial robots. Effective implementation of automation equipment depends on several factors, e.g. production volume, applied material, chosen application or cycle times. It is not fully clear which factors are mostly affecting the successful change to a more automated production.
The purpose of this paper is to distinguish which automation enabling factors are dependent or independent on the specific conditions of the wood product industry.
By applying a comparative case study approach, automation standards and practices for wood product industries in three highly industrialized European countries are compared and analyzed. As key contribution of this paper crucial factors for the implementation of industrial robots are identified. The contributing factors are set into context to the country’s specific preconditions for wood products, e.g. market penetration, sales volume, availability and supply of resources.
As results of this study, differences and similarities are found for revealing independent or depending factors. Dependent factors are influencing only wood product industries while independent factors are connected to the nation´s specific economic and industrial situation.
wood product industry