Chinese furniture manufacturer Kuka Home has completed a “digital transformation” of its product development and leather-cutting processes, using technology from Lectra. The technology provider has worked with Kuka to install its DesignConcept virtual prototyping and product development solution and its Versalis automated leather-cutting solution.
Founded in 1982, Kuka Home supplies a wide range of products, including leather sofas, to more than 2,500 own-brand furniture retail outlets. It also exports its products to more than 120 international markets. Kuka’s lean production and planning management director, Pan Chaoping, says the furniture company spent several years preparing for its move to automation, discussing its plans with a number of technology providers and carrying out a series of trials. “Lectra are more aligned with our current business model,” he said. “As labour costs have spiralled, we are looking to increase the cost-competitiveness of our furniture and increase manufacturing efficiency.” He added that adopting digitalised cutting techniques for leather has helped it achieve the improvements in efficiency it was looking for. The company is now able to handle smaller batches, he explained, and has been able to reduce costs, partly by optimising its leather consumption. Pan also said the company’s finished products now have greater consistency in quality.