Netting Station for Pentair X-Flow

In 2019, together with Pentair, we completed an exciting engineering project with a great challenge.

The Project

Netting Station

Pentair Enschede

Pentair in Enschede is a market leader in the field of membrane technology. The membrane filtration systems made in Enschede are used worldwide to purify water, wastewater, milk, wine and beer. The membranes (thin straws) and modules for the filtration systems are developed and produced entirely in-house.

Each bundle contains one thousand membranes and is packed in an expanded net. For optimal operation of the filtration system, it is necessary that each bundle be carefully visually inspected before assembly and then provided with an expanded net. It is important to perform the inspection to ensure that the membrane filter will work optimally. Indeed, in the food and beverage industry, water must meet very high quality standards.

A challenging problem

Machinefabriek Geurtsen's task was to provide an automation solution for the procedure where workers must manually shake out bundles and give them a stretch net. Employees must do more physical effort than they are capable of, making it physically demanding labor. Pentair chose this automation project because it prioritizes ergonomics and comfortable working conditions for it's employees.

The process

Machine Construction

To address this challenge, we were asked to find a smart and ergonomic solution. By dividing the process into phases and working with scrum and agile methodologies, impressive results were quickly achieved. The decision was made to use a cobot arm that would work with the employees. A cobot arm offers the benefits of working safely without having to use a shielded workspace. With the help of a dialogue program we developed, employees can hang, shake out, check and stretch membranes step by step.


The cobot arm

The cobot arm now takes over the work that was previously done beyond the control of the employees completely. The main advantage of this approach is that all work is done vertically, gravity helps perform the work and the membranes are joined together in the stretch net in a tight manner. The long bundles are then automatically packed by another module and neatly placed in a box. This box continues into the next process.

The introduction of the smart and ergonomic solution combined with the cobot arm was a great success at Pentair. After a testing period, the machine was received with enthusiastic response by the employees who had to work with it. Further improvements were made to the machine during on-site testing and the first working period. Shortly after its introduction, Pentair decided to order a second machine.

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