'Millions of shavers a year! That is a lot!'
News | July 4, 2018
They are the winners of the vlogging contest of the EDU robotics event on 21 February in Leeuwarden and redeem their prize just before the summer holidays, a factory visit to Philips. Or actually, a visit to Innovatiecluster Drachten at Philips. Because in addition to a tour of the robots that make razors, the children visit the 3D metal printer in the ICD shared facility center.
,,Wow! Millions of shavers a year! That's a lot!'' one of the children says. ,,That is necessary,'' explains tour guide Henk, ,,because with Father's Day all shops have to be full with enough razors.'' While he leads the children past the robots, Henk explains that everything that is not standard is done by humans. and the rest by robots. At some robots the children stop to watch. "Years ago, it was full of tables where ladies assemble the parts for the shaving heads, now robots do that." Further on, the children see a red lamp light up above a robot line. When asked what happens if there is a malfunction, Henk answers: ,,Fortunately, all robots have a number. That's useful in case of problems. This way the operators know exactly which of the hundreds of robots is the right one."
Especially for the children, an employee in another factory explains how the name is printed on the shaver with a special sponge. One of the children is already standing further down and shouts: ,,Why was this thrown out?''. He points to a container with plastic parts. Hank explains. ,,Look at the pins, one is missing. Precisely! The machine has seen that and so throws this part away. If this happens too often, the operator needs to be there to find out what's going on."
Where they are not allowed to touch anything in the factory, the children can touch all products at the 3D metal printer and look at them from all sides. An employee explains how the printer slowly builds up a product with fine metal dust under a high temperature. “With this printer, we can make things that we couldn't make before. This light and extremely strong structure, for example.” The operator shows a model of a holder made of one piece of solid metal. The children have to hold the model with both hands because of the weight. ,,Look, this one is much lighter and also much stronger'', the operator continues. He gives the children another model that consists of a kind of 'bone structure'. The children can easily grab this model with one hand. They are amazed at the big weight difference.
No, some children did not expect this. And their master is also amazed. ,,I thought there would be assembly lines with robots imposing something on it, but this is something completely different.'' One of the children is sure: ,,I'm going to work here!''. ,,Yes'', Henk says to the master, ,,we have to pamper them, then they might all want to work at Philips later on.''