Line automation

Prize: 9.000€

Status: completed


Our client is a company specialized in the production of sealing systems for the automotive industry.

Company’s goals include a continuous improvement in terms of product quality, cost efficiency and customer service.


The Challenge

Companies want to increase their productivity and improve their competitiveness and presence in the current global world.

Our client has improved in this area. However, now they would like to push this progress even further, which is why they are proposing this challenge, to further reduce the labor cost of one of their rubber extrusion lines. 

Each rubber extrusion line manufactures a single part every 6-12 sec. (cycle time) through the following operations:

  • The rubber extrusion line makes the part, cutting it to its final length and coloring an identification dot on the surface
  • A person removes this part from the end line, verifies the absence of flaws on the surface, checks the length of the part, the position of the color dot and places the part on the next thermally fused welding station
  • An additional person inserts the unattached ends into the hot molding
  • The machine joins the unattached ends by thermally fused welding
  • The person in the welding working station removes the part and places it in a container

The heavier part weighs 2,5kg in this rubber extrusion line. 

Find attached a full description of the juncture point of the unattached ends process:

  • Process description, including pictures of the parts and the equipment, and overall manufacturing area layout with distances.
  • Video (showing the process with 4 and 5 people)
  • High level Gantt chart with the overall activities and timings


What the client is looking for

The client is looking for a new solution to reduce the labor cost of the end rubber extrusion line with a reasonable investment in new tooling or equipment:

  • First level: Automation only of the profiles’ load to the stations (explained in the pdf Process description). Investment always below 85 k€.
  • Second level: Automation of the profiles’ load  and the welding operation (load & unload) in the union molds for the 3 welding stations (load the profiles directly or not in the splicing molds). Investment always below 250 k€


Evaluation criteria

The evaluation criteria in each of the rounds of the tournament for the proposed solutions are:

  • Compliance with required cycle time requirements (6 sec.)
  • Feasibility evidence
  • Lower investments and/or cost. Required investment in tools and machinery should be below 250 K€.
  • Possibility to integrate into each end line


This is a 3-round tournament with the following expected submissions:

First round

A 2-page MS Word document which will include:

  • Description of your proposal for reducing the labor cost:
    • Technical measures, impacted activities and expected reduction cost
    • Sketches and new layout
    • Description of the high level process to automate the parts loading and removing
    • Feasibility evidences (if applicable) to support your recommendations

Second round

  • Detailed process specification.
  • Equipment specifications and available suppliers. 
  • Estimated investments and operational costs.

Third round

  • Clarifications on the process and proposed investments



This is a 3‐round tournament:

  • 1st round: 6 weeks to present solutions + 1 week for evaluation
  • 2nd round: 3 weeks to present solutions + 1 week for evaluation
  • 3rd round: 2 weeks + 1 week for evaluation
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  • Make your submission concise. A 3-5 pages pdf document might be sufficient, although you can send additional documents such as drawings, calculations or specifications.

    Good Luck!