Stas, from Wallonian SME to Factory of the Future

Stas is one of the two Wallonian companies to have obtained the title of Factory of the Future for 2019, for its Tournai site. In doing so, the firm has confirmed that industrialisation and digital transformation are also within reach of SMEs.    

Every year, Stas group’s Tournai-based site produces a thousand tippers and moving floor trailers, used in agriculture, public works and recycling. Thanks to its in-house R&D department, the company can propose state of the art models to satisfy these sectors’ constantly changing needs. Today, many of their innovations have become standard references for manufacturers across the globe. This well-negotiated digital transformation has earned the company a place among Wallonia’s Factories of the Future.

Largely digitised operational processes

At a glance, one can see that this family company’s production lines are a genuine break from the image of the traditional workshop. Thanks to new technology, the plant has succeeded in harmoniously associating personalised production and automation.

For example, welding operations are now largely conducted by intelligent automatons. Moving floor trailers in varying types and sizes successively progress along the production line. Then, the welding robot begins to measure the parts to be welded, instantaneously adapting to each situation. Thanks to this pioneer innovation for the sector, the plant is capable of rapidly adapting to suit customer orders and market changes, and with a great deal of flexibility.

A new painting robot was also installed early 2018. Via its intelligent programming, the robot works safely and in concert with an operator installed inside the paint cabin.

New technologies for quality management

The quality management system has also largely benefited. The plant has developed QMS, a quality management application for smartphones. Supervisors use the app on a daily basis to record any problems encountered during production. The support department can also monitor progress in real time, and intervene as quickly as possible.

Via these transformations, Stas is offering itself resources that are worthy of its ambition: to become the absolute leader in the European market. Hence, it is joining the small group of Wallonia’s ‘model’ factories, along with AW Europe, JTEKT and Valeo. All of these human-scale companies provide products with high added value and offer the necessary agility to rapidly react to evolutions in demand, by progressively integrating digital production processes.

AW Europe obtains one of the prestigious Factory of the Future Awards, awarded by Sirris & Agoria within the framework of the Made Different Digital Wallonia programme, coordinated by the Agence du Numérique. Further information on the ‘Factory of the Future Award’, awarded by Sirris & Agoria within the framework of the Wallonian industry coaching programme entitled, Made Different Digital Wallonia : https://www.sirris.be/wallonia-now-home-4-factories-future