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Adelphi Automation and Rollon: A partnership that thought outside of the box to successfully automate a pottery glazing line

Case Study

When automating a process as old as pottery making, thinking outside of the box is absolutely necessary to get best results. This is exactly what Adelphi Automation – a company specializing in automation solutions – did, with the help of Rollon’s specialist gantry system expertise, to fully automate the glaze dipping process of one of the oldest pottery manufacturers in the UK.

Nowadays, when we think about automation, we almost tend to consider it as a given – something so widespread within the industrial fabric that one could do it with one’s eyes closed.

However, this is certainly not the case. Automation, like many other industrial processes, often hides pitfalls and difficulties in the detail that make it “conceivably impossible” to find the best solution for that specific process. And one of the greatest challenges is being able to think outside of the box, leaving behind the idea that “it has always been done this way” to try to find a new, more efficient solution.

This approach was fully embraced by Adelphi Automation, a UK & Ireland based company specializing in automation solutions, who prides itself on taking on technically challenging projects and delivering world class solutions and that has made “Engineering the Extraordinary” its own motto.

“Adelphi was founded almost twelve years ago, initially serving the aerospace industry. We grew rapidly, becoming quite successful across a broad range of applications, providing all types of automation solutions for robotic and assembly systems”, explains David Ashmole, director at Adelphi. “We don’t concentrate in any specific sector: everything we do is bespoke engineering, virtually all one-offs, and we do love a challenge!”, David says happily.

One of the latest projects that Adelphi has been working on, is automating production for one of the major historical pottery manufacturers in the UK.

“When we first got in contact with this pottery manufacturer, they needed to automate the cleaning of the pottery before further processing. They had been looking for an automation partner for two and a half years to move their business forward. In fact, they had twelve people per shift whose only task was to put the pieces into tumblers with wooden chips to clean all the dust off. They wanted to automate this stage not only to optimize the process but also to put to better use the skills of their employees, thus working around the difficulty of finding new talents. One of the main challenges was posed by the several different products they have within their portfolio, which includes historical ones, dating back 80-100 years. So, we needed to create an automation solution that would work no matter the geometry or size of the pottery piece”.

“We went around their production site for two days in order to provide them with a report of what we thought could and should be automated with minimum risk and maximum return on the investment”, explains David. “We successfully started off on a small project and we moved on from there. The project we’re currently working on is the third one for them in the span of nearly three years and aims at automating the glazing process”.

To achieve this goal, Adelphi relied on Rollon’s linear actuators and gantry systems, further corroborating the cooperation between the two companies that started years ago and turned into an out-and-out partnership.

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