UNEX invests in robotics, automation and increasing productivity
The engineering-metallurgical company UNEX has had yet another successful year in which turnover amounted to approximately 3.12 billion crowns. In the past three years, the company succeeded in increasing its turnover by 30 percent. This year's plan anticipates further growth, with expected turnover to reach almost 3.4 billion crowns.
Among the numerous projects completed last year is the delivery of marine propulsion parts for a new customer with whom further projects were subsequently planned for 2019. In June, the final pieces for the Ariane 6 commission were finished, with additional commissions from the "space sector" in negotiations. Technologists and specialists in the development of new castings participated, for instance, on the development of a new wheel for a 400-tonne dump truck that should begin production in 2019. UNEX participated in the implementation and installation of the repair of a broken-down USSK 1 landfill mega-machine, and the repair of a KU800/11 mining mega-machine, which included replacing rollers and repairing the feet and bucket wheel. The Olomouc forge gained new customers providing products for the rapidly-expanding branch of robotics, automation, and handling equipment. Positive market development made it possible to stabilise recurring production for all international players in the field of construction machinery, handling equipment, and the mining industry.
"At the end of the year, our manufacturing facilities in Uničov and Olomouc employed 1,522 permanent employees," stated personnel director Hana Bartošová. "Their average salary reached almost CZK 34,000 last year, total salary expenses amounted to CZK 616 million, and over CZK 331 million in taxes related to the salary agenda were paid."
UNEX's personnel policies include a long-term and systematic collaboration with regional technically- and trade-oriented vocational schools, secondary schools, and technical universities.
In 2018, UNEX implemented investment events for more than 130 million crowns.
Completed investments included those for strategic technologies for machining, firing, and welding. Examples include the replacement of welding sources in the Uničov facility for CZK 4.4 million, the Frontius automated welding machine for CZK 6.3 million, investment into a Škoda boring machine for CZK 32.8 million, as well as the Tajmac triple-axis machining centre for CZK 8 million. The UNEX machine park was also expanded by the Messer Omnimat plasma cutting machine for CZK 12.1 million.
UNEX does not invest solely into its engineering equipment, but also into the maintenance of its buildings and sanitary facilities for its employees. In Olomouc, the cafeteria and serving counter were completely renovated and equipped at a cost of over one million crowns, and repairs to the sanitary facilities amounted to CZK 1.1 million.
Additional areas that were the focus of special attention included reducing the share of hard manual labour. Specifically, this constituted automation and robotisation of challenging processes such as welding, metalwork, bevel cutting, and paint coating. UNEX currently operates four robotic and two automated facilities for welding.
"The goal of the majority of the investments was to achieve greater efficiency. Recurring production allows us to gradually introduce automated and robotic facilities as a solution for the long-term shortage of qualified employees. Investments into strengthening NC machining at all sites speeds up and improves production, supplements deficient capacity, and is a motivator in acquiring additional employees for new, modern machines," said Pavel Chlup, UNEX technical director responsible for investments.
In 2019, UNEX has investment events planned for a total exceeding 160 million crowns. The largest portion of the funds will focus on projects in the areas of logistics, machining, foundry, and welding. Investments into innovative manufacturing machinery in conjunction with investments into UNEX employees allows us to react more flexibly to the continuously increasing demands of our customers and thus maintain our competitiveness and demonstrate business growth.
Interesting facts for 2018
- The heaviest item that UNEX manufactured last year weighed 72 tonnes. It was a steel structure for a crane.
- The lightest item manufactured was a clamp cast, weighing 0.046 kg.
- In terms of the number of items manufactured, the "record-breaker" was an item for the automobile industry, of which UNEX manufactured 1,122,493 pieces.
- In the foundry, UNEX began using 3D printing technologies for the production of matrix models of products, lugs, sprues, and other components.