Competencies - May 2019

Modern ceramics plant

Highly automated and process-optimized production

Thanks to the high degree of automation and the Geberit Production System the ceramics plant in the Finnish town of Ekenäs is one of the most modern of its kind.

Bathroom ceramics have been manufac­tured in Ekenäs, a small Finnish town an hour’s drive from Helsinki, since 1969. WC ceramic appliances, exposed cisterns made of ceramic, and washbasins are just some of the products manufactured within the walls of the 55,000-square-metre pro­duction hall. However, the processes in­volved in the production of ceramic sani­tary appliances are not as traditional here as one might imagine – and it’s been this way for quite some time.

Early automation
Modern technology became a reality in the plant early on. the glazing of ceramic sanitary appliances was automated using industrial robots as far back as 1974. The partial automation of the casting of ceramic sanitary appliances followed in 1999. And it’s a sight to behold. Imposing robot gripper arms execute their movements elegantly and carefully. The ceramic sanitary appliances are carefully lifted out of the moulds, and edges and uneven areas on the moist, still malleable body are carefully touched up with a sponge. Since 2011, seven self-driving forklift trucks have also been travelling be­tween the glazing station, the kilns and the quality control area.

Identifiable material flow
When walking through the plant, you immediately notice that everything here has its place. The processes are highly optimized. The Geberit production system, or GPS for short, is used here. This system comprises the core elements of lean pro­duction and is designed in such a way that it can be applied to different manufactur­ing processes and plants. Order, structure and cleanliness – the GPS principles are not only implemented in an exemplary manner in Ekenäs. The system has been established in Geberit’s plants where plastic and metal are processed since as far back as 2007.