For more than 100 years now, 4 generations of the Aelbrecht-Maes family have been steering everything in the right direction at this metal constructor. The company was founded in 1914 by Maurice Maes who set up his one-man business as a blacksmith and stove maker. More than a century later, the company has grown to become a metal constructor in the broadest sense of the word. In addition to turning and milling work, the activities include bending work, the construction of conveyors, tooling, containers, steel windows and doors and stairs and even machine construction. Belgium has long become too small for Aelbrecht-Maes, which has already managed to fulfil a lot of great projects in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Hans Maes, CEO: “Automation is not completely new to us. We have been working with a welding robot for some time, but we’ve not yet taken that step for our turning and milling department. In recent years, however, we got more and more turning work and we were sometimes even forced to contract orders out. This of course is also because nowadays it’s so difficult to find good operators.
We regularly visit the trade fairs to nose out new machines and other innovations. This way we got to know RoboJob and talked with them a number of times. Every year we also visit the Mazak Open House in Haasrode together with our operators, and there too we were able to see the latest RoboJob innovations every time. It struck us that RoboJob itself originated from the machining industry. You also notice this aspect in the discussions you have with RoboJob’s employees: there’s know-how and people understand exactly what machining is.
Of course we also looked at other suppliers, but the choice for RoboJob was made fairly quickly. In particular because of the simplicity of the programming: in fact it’s enough to specify a diameter and length of a shaft and the robot will start doing its thing. RoboJob also builds very solid machines, and that’s also important to us. After all, you don't want a robot to fail regularly.
Our choice ultimately fell on a Turn-Assist 270s. We automated our Mazak Integrex J200S with this. The entire process really went very smoothly. We received a clear list of questions in advance, plus we were also given enough time to prepare everything. We asked for some adjustments here and there, and RoboJob was able to show the necessary flexibility to meet these demands. It may sound logical, but we’ve not encountered any unexpected issues. That’s not always the case with other suppliers. The installation itself also went smoothly, and our robot has now become fully established in the workplace.
We involved our operators throughout the entire process, and you can now see that it’s paying off. Our people were open to working with a robot, and today it appears to be effective that they also enjoy working with it very smoothly. Thanks to our Turn-Assist, we now have more flexibility with our Integrex. We also have regular piece work, but can quickly switch to the robot for batch production. This gives us a lot more capacity and autonomy when it gets busier.
All in all, we’re able to conclude that we’re highly satisfied with our choice of RoboJob. We are now ready for the future: we have more capacity and flexibility, and can offer our customers shorter delivery times.”