Asterix sets up the packaging - one of the two new robots at the logistics site in Lintorf. (Copyright: Sabrina Hübner)
Competencies - January 2024

Asterix and Obelix haul ceramics

Lintorf logistics site

No more humping. Until now, employees at the Geberit logistics site in Lintorf (DE) had to lift ceramics weighing over 20 kilograms a good 1,000 times a day. A new packaging system now makes their work more ergonomic and faster.

For years, packaging ceramics was manual labour at the Geberit logistics site in Lintorf. The box had to be prepared, including the Hexapad insert (see box). Then the ceramic, weighing over 20 kilograms, had to be lifted, lowered into the box from above and the components added, such as the toilet seat. The packaging with various components is called a set pack. Now the box had to be closed. Finally, it had to be sealed, palletised and the pallet wrapped in plastic film – machines only provided minimal support.

This has changed in recent months. All a person has to do is push the ceramic into the box without lifting it and add the components. Robots and machines do the rest: erecting the box, labelling, palletising and more.

Components bring efficiency and flexibility
“We have two new robots, called Asterix and Obelix, as well as a whole range of other automated components,“ says Lutz Spira, Project Manager Products at the Lintorf logistics centre. “The system is primarily for ergonomics.“ It is a massive relief for the employees because they no longer have to lift the ceramics.

“But we are also much faster.“ So far, the company has been able to pack a good 1,000 WCs a day. In the first few weeks since the launch, they have already managed to pack 1,200 in one day. “We are still in the introductory phase. The target is 1,400 to 1,500 a day.“

Finally, the system offers a high degree of flexibility. For example, it can process a wide variety of cardboard packaging shapes, vertical and horizontal WCs and washbasins. Lutz Spira says: “There are more than a dozen different packing schemes.“

The Hexapad

An additional layer of cardboard – the hexapad – is placed on the bottom of the ceramic packaging. Glue is applied to this hexapad so that it sticks directly to the ceramic. It has a double benefit: It distributes the weight of the toilet bowl better in the cardboard box, making it more secure. In addition, the plumber can pull the ceramic appliance out of the box and place it on the floor on the protective Hexapad until the final installation.