“Using robots is ‘in’ in the Netherlands, particularly in smart industry, but we were already doing it in 2008,” says Plant Manager Frank Landhuis, who is in the process of taking over the direction of the company from his father Jan Landhuis.
ALMI’s welding robots start and stop in the same position, and they often use RFID to recognize parts and moulds. “The robots know exactly what to do with the part, so practically no time is necessary to adjust the machinery to different parts,” the Plant Manager explains. “That is what distinguishes us: the fact that we can supply small series production runs.”
The general advantages of using robots in production are obvious. They offer consistent product quality, and reliable delivery is assured as the robots never take a sick day.
“Our clients can start assembly right away when they receive our parts,” Mr. Landhuis continues the list of benefits. “Quality is guaranteed. With our cooperation, our customers (OEM companies) will lead smart industry. That is our common objective for the future.”
Founded in 1946 by Mr. Landhuis’s grandfather and his brother-in-law, it was not until 1980, under the leadership of the current director, that ALMI began working with robots. Since then the company has taken a close look at the supply chain and adjusted accordingly. The result is the ability to supply the complex parts outsourced to ALMI.
“Our customers don’t have to invest in the production machinery themselves,” Mr. Landhuis points out. “We use the machines to make our own parts and components, as well, so they always run at full capacity. Some of the machinery is highly specialized, and since our customers can’t always afford to buy or maintain it to make just a few parts, they count on us. Everyone wins.”
ALMI is growing at a fast pace, going from a staff of 35 just a year ago to 50 now. Active in 60 countries, the company has recognized that its customers cannot keep up with modern developments on their own.
“Outsourcing is becoming more important,” Mr. Landhuis says. “There is not one company in the Netherlands that can supply what we do. The kind of work we do and the scope of it are also unique.”