The production halls at our Nordhausen site look like futuristic film sets in some places. Metre-high white robots seem to lead a life of their own. They rotate inside circular shelves as if in an arena. Again and again, their bent swan necks suddenly shoot forward, grab a wooden component from the conveyor belt and with momentum place it in a certain spot on the shelf. You can hardly tear yourself away from this sight, but Rainer Marsoun continues the factory tour – because right next door, new attractions are waiting.
Mr Marsoun is the head of the Stiegelmeyer plant in Nordhausen. This is where the wood production for the entire company is located. Contract furniture, bedside cabinets and the wooden components of our care beds are manufactured in Thuringia. Mr Marsoun and his team are currently working on a major project: the entire machinery is being renewed and large parts of the production are being automated. The transformation is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023. The multi-million investment is also a strong commitment of the Stiegelmeyer Group to Germany as a business location.
Mr Marsoun lists what is already finished: "The pre-cut, the storage area for the pre-cut, the edging and formatting cell, the sorting cells and the milling and drilling line. A fully automatic processing centre and a complete assembly line will follow in the next weeks."
What lies behind these technical terms quickly becomes apparent in the halls. For example, cutting and edging: When our FORUM team visits the factory, the production of head and footboards for care beds is in full swing. A large gantry with vacuum suction cups sucks up the wooden boards in the storage area and places them on a conveyor belt. With millimetre precision, they are fed to the saw blades and brought into the desired format. Then the formatted edges of the boards have to be coated with ABS edgebands in the respective wood decor. The machines know what they are doing: the wooden boards rotate again and again on an elongated belt and are automatically processed from all sides and finished with ABS edges. A few work steps later, such as milling and drilling, they finally arrive at the robots in the sorting cells.
There is a lot of digital work behind this fully automated magic, because ultimately the machines only carry out what has been "entered on the computer". Everywhere in the factory, the work steps can be checked on monitors. The employees in Nordhausen are coping well with these tasks: "The colleagues who are now working on the new machines already had basic knowledge of similar machines. They were then specially trained by the equipment manufacturers for the new machines. That worked out very well, everyone pulled along and was eager to get started," reports Mr Marsoun.
"The new Nordhausen machine fleet brings greater flexibility to respond to customer requirements," adds Ilona Wiemann, marketing product manager for the nursing home division. "We are pleased to be able to offer greater variety and more individualisation." A good example, she says, is the new Aparto bedside cabinet series. "Here, customers can choose from a modular configuration kit with drawers, tray pull-out, height-adjustable overbed table, homelike decors and many other features. The Aparto family thus meets very different requirements and can be ideally combined with all Stiegelmeyer care beds – right up to the ultra-low bed Tereno," says Ms Wiemann.
The best prerequisites for further growth in the bedside cabinet and contract furniture segments. The Stiegelmeyer Group is pursuing the goal of increasingly developing into a supplier of comprehensive solutions that provides customers with large parts of their room furnishings from a single source and follows this up with first-class service. Bedside and medicine cabinets, wardrobes for clothes, chests of drawers, tables and wall panels play an important role in this process. Furniture for health and nursing care should be attractive and homelike, make efficient use of the available space, be easy to operate and contribute to the safety of patients and residents. Our contract furniture from Nordhausen offers all these advantages. They are the first choice for residential, service and communal rooms.