New laser robotics at HOUNÖ protects employees from hazardous chemicals
HOUNÖ has developed a laser robot that cleans welds without the use of hazardous chemicals. This protects the employees and the environment. The effort has triggered a nomination for the Danish Working Environment Award 2022 in the category “Chemistry and wet work”. Every week, HOUNÖ produces more than 100 combi ovens for use in the […]
HOUNÖ has developed a laser robot that cleans welds without the use of hazardous chemicals. This protects the employees and the environment. The effort has triggered a nomination for the Danish Working Environment Award 2022 in the category “Chemistry and wet work”.
Every week, HOUNÖ produces more than 100 combi ovens for use in the food industry, and the work involves critical welds that subsequently must be cleaned. So far, the industry has solved this challenge with manual labour and chemicals. Now, HOUNÖ has innovated this way of work by introducing laser robotics.
Kim Merrild Thuesen, director of Supply Chain Management and management representative for the occupational health and safety organization at HOUNÖ says:
When dealing with people and strong chemistry, there will always be risks. Although we make all the statutory reservations by using protective equipment, the processes will still be hazardous. However, by replacing manual work with a robotic solution, we have created a safer workplace for our employees, where 1,000 litres of chemical waste product per week is now a thing of the past.
Not a stand-alone effort
At HOUNÖ, it is nothing new to incorporate work environment into the processes. For many years, a safe working environment has been a high focus area as well as a good collaboration between the management and the workplace’s occupational health and safety organization. Here, the latter has worked closely with the engineering department, together making health assessments before a new product is used and building up systematics regarding handling and selection of chemistry.
Kim Merrild Thuesen continues:
Initially, we were first movers by partially automating the dangerous electrochemical cleaning process to, among other things, ensure a good working environment. Since then, we have challenged the traditional cleaning technologies and now 5 years later, in this second phase, we have managed to completely replace the dangerous chemical process with an automated advanced chemical-free and secure laser solution. It’s part of our DNA and culture that be first-movers and challenge any process that can be optimised. That is why we are also immensely happy and proud to be nominated for the Working Environment Award.
The Working Environment Council calls the effort admirable
The chairman of the Working Environment Council, Cristina Lage, highlights the company’s improved working environment and collaboration in the justification of HOUNÖ’s nomination for the Working Environment Award 2022.
HOUNÖ’s efforts to create a healthier working environment have eliminated hazardous chemicals. By replacing chemical substances with a laser technology, employees are no longer exposed to harmful substances. It is very impressive.
says Cristina Lage, chairman of The Working Environment Council and continues:
In addition, it is crucial that the company involves the occupational health and safety organization when new processes are introduced. It shines through that they collaborate in their occupational health and safety organization to create technologies that improve the work environment among the employees, and that is admirable.