New AVR harvesters assembly line
In April 2015, the groundbreaking took place for the new AVR assembly hall, and in June 2016 already the potato machine producer rode out its first completed trailed harvester. In less than a year´s time the foundations were laid, the concrete structure was raised and the technical provisions, the rolling bridges and the drag chain conveyor installed. AVR is starting 2016 right on schedule and with a beautiful opener.
In early June, AVR officially opened its new production facility in the presence of Governor Carl Decaluwé, Mayor Kris Declercq and Roeselare Aldermen Marc Van Walleghem, Nathalie Muylle and Griet Coppé.
"Our Flemish government, the province and the city – particularly our new Mayor and the Aldermen – have made every effort to help push this project in the right direction. We experienced competent, cooperative officials on all levels,” Managing Director Stefan Top said during his opening speech.
That same weekend AVR welcomed some 3.000 people, related to the sector of potato cultivation, to visit the production facilities and the new assembly line during the AVR Professional Days.
Functioning of the new line
Both drawn and self-propelled harvesters are assembled on the new assembly line. The chassis is coupled to a central chain that automatically pulls the machine forward. Fixed workstations are organised along this chain. Each employee thus has his own place, knows his assigned tasks and possesses the specific necessary tools, which saves time. Every workstation must complete the planned work content before the drag chain is activated. This movement lasts only two minutes.
Earlier, the machines had to be moved with a forklift truck to the next workstation, but now this is no longer necessary. With the principle of a drag chain AVR is striving for a more structured approach to the production process.
"We made this investment in order to guarantee a smooth flow of the machines, so that we continue to deliver in a timely manner, even at a higher production rate”, says Stefan Top.
Moving the harvester assembly
“In December we assembled the last harvesters in the old buildings. Now room is made there for the production of the drawn tools such as cultivating and planting machines. A lot is entailed by such a move: planning of the new workstations alongside the drag chain, placement of the parts, briefing of the employees who must become accustomed to a brand-new workplace and working method… Fortunately, we have a strong project team that organised everything carefully and the planning was closely complied with. We´re ready for 2016!”, concludes Stefan Top.
AVR took a number of ergonomic measures so that the employees experience as little nuisance as possible in the execution of their job. An AVR Safety and Prevention Advisor specially trained for this purpose keeps a close eye on all adaptations.
In order to have greater lifting capacity, one opted for crossbridges. More employees can now dispose of lifting capacity at the same time. No fewer than 25 overhead cranes were installed in order to facilitate the movement of heavy pieces.
In order to protect hearing, workers receive custom-made earplugs and the roof of the hangar has been made with acoustically-absorbent material. The danger of tripping is reduced by using electrical tools with batteries as much as possible, instead of compressed-air tools.
All workstations are a good deal wider than earlier and, together with the clear LED lighting, this has a positive influence on the working atmosphere. At the end of February the social block will also be ready. The brand-new canteen is a comfortable space that is full of light.
Growth in the number of personnel
AVR has grown quickly in recent years, not only in terms of sales, but also with regard to the number of personnel members.
In 2005 we had around 60 personnel members, while in 2015 that figure was 130. At the beginning of this year, AVR further expanded the number of personnel with six additional positions, including a service technician, production supervisor, R&D engineer, quality controller, technical purchaser and a business development manager.