CRH installs cutting-edge robotics

On Monday, June 14, 2010, CRH Clay Solutions opened their new robotics hall at the De Bylandt plant in Tolkamer, the Netherlands. Now, eight setting robots palletize the clay pavers produced by De Bylandt. They arrange the pavers for delivery in optimal patterns for each customer‘s respective local machine-assisted emplacement – with full flexibility in terms of size, shape and laying pattern. One of the robots is used exclusively for mixing the various colours. This modern robot engineering for new emplacements is a custom version made by the German company Ertl. The overall investment cost was € 3.5 million.

Mechanical laying is increasingly replacing the manual approach, especially in the Netherlands, as it equates to an enormous facilitation of road building work. Instead of being placed by hand, the individual clay pavers are now placed on expendable pallets by robots at a rate of some 30 pallets per hour. “In this segment“, says Theo van Baal, sales director for the Netherlands, “mechanisation is of vital importance, not least in view of current occupational safety directives.”


Highly efficient automation

The use of innovative robots and laying machines also yields economic advantages in the form of time saved and costs avoided. “With all this new automation“, Theo van Baal reports, “we have markedly increased our installation rate. Now, instead of 60 m² a day, we can pave as much as 250 m² a day, depending on the local circumstances.“ By their own account, CRH Clay Solutions is the first company in the paver industry to use robots for preparing clay pavers for mechanical emplacement. That puts CRH in a pioneering position within the European ceramic industry.

The CRH Plant De Bylandt looks back on a very long tradition and counts among the Netherlands‘ best-performing factories. They produce upwards of 100 million clay pavers a year. More than 300 invited guests, including road builders, architects, building material retailers and their employees, attended the new robot hall‘s inauguration under sunny skies. In addition to a tour of the production facility, the installing contractors gave a live demonstration of how to lay pre-sorted clay pavers.


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