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f+h Intralogistics 1/2015

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f+h Intralogistics 1/2015

CRANES AND HOISTS Demag

CRANES AND HOISTS Demag cranes creates space for the manufacture of complex machines The Swiss mechanical engineering company Soplar SA, Altstaetten, focused on maximum possible flexibility when it planned to extend its capacity for assembly and logistics. A strong solution was developed for a logistics concept that ensures maximum utilization of the available space. Thanks to the use of overhead and wall-mounted travelling cranes, no floor space is taken up, which is now fully available for the production of the complex Soplar machines. They are commonplace in virtually all households: drinking water, hair shampoo, ketchup and much more. What these articles also have in common: they are filled and sold in plastic bottles. “Any of the plastic bottles that you can buy in a supermarket may have been made by one of our machines”, states Roger Mahrle, CEO and Head of Technology at Soplar SA. The company is a technology leader in this mechanical engineering segment. For more than 30 years, Soplar SA has developed and manufactured complex machines for the production of plastic bottles. In 30 years of continuous growth, the location in Altstaetten has changed in appearance. The biggest investment in the company’s history took off when work started on a new logistics and assembly bay as well as an office building in the summer of 2013. Roger Mahrle explains: “We planned to construct this new complex on the space occupied by our oldest building in order to accommodate our entire logistics operation, i.e. the goods-in and goods-out area and most of our assembly workplaces, in this new building. Our goal was to achieve the maximum storage space in a minimum area. Thanks to the installation of five lean lifts, we have created space for additional storage capacities as well as further assembly workplaces.” The new building, which measures 30 × 100 m, was strictly designed with the aim of achieving maximum possible flexibility. While half of the building complex is planned to be used for logistics, various workplaces for assembly and pre-assembly operations were created in an area measuring some 1,500 m². Of this, some 50 percent of the building space is earmarked for assembly of the machines. The special machines, which weigh up to 30 t, are assembled by a team at a dedicated assembly station. The partly pre-assembled modules are brought from the individual pre- assembly workplaces or direct from the order-picking zones by cranes. Two Demag ZKKE double-girder overhead travelling cranes that have a span of 18.06 m operate on a crane runway which measures some 50 m in length. Whereas one crane is equipped a 16 t DR-Pro rope hoist, the other crane has two rope hoists of the same type that can also be used in synchronized operation. This tandem solution enables Soplar to carry out all steps that also go beyond simply supplying items for assembly. Besides the handling and transport of large-volume machine parts, the crane with the pair of hoists is also used to break the machines down into shipping units after they have been fully tested following completion. With the help of the cranes, these machine parts are packed into 2.5 meter-high shipping containers and then loaded onto trucks. “The crane operator can simply switch the hoist units over from single operation to 38 f+h Intralogistics 1/2015

CRANES AND HOISTS tandem mode by pressing a button”, explains Demag sales engineer Heinz Schefer. “The required parameters are implemented by processor controls in our DR-Pro rope hoists. This solution is simply one of our standard features.” Soplar only uses radio controls to operate the overhead travelling cranes. Roger Mahrle comments: “This wireless system is the easiest solution for us. On the one hand, we have no obstacles in the building in the form of suspended control cables and, on the other hand, our workers can operate the cranes from the optimum position.” The building plan not only used the available ground space in the best possible and most versatile way, the entire building space was designed for a maximum utilization. To achieve this, the building structure was specified to enable both cranes to approach each other even under full load. A glance at the roof quickly reveals that the entire available space was utilized. Thanks Short crane runway – great outreach. Bracket cranes cover every single space of the workplace to their optimized design, the cranes travel only a few centimeters beneath the wooden beams of the roof structure. This results in a further gain in lifting height thanks to the optimized C dimension. “We also installed the cranes at the same height in the neighboring bay so that we can reach the assembly workplaces below them and the storage area on a gallery”, Roger Mahrle explains further. This area is used for the assembly of tube heads, which form the core element of all Soplar machines. Four single-girder overhead travelling cranes that have load capacities of four and five tons operate on a crane runway at a height of nine meters. The EPKE type cranes assist the staff in supplying material as well as in the many steps throughout assembly. Roger Mahrle: “During the assembly operation, we use the cranes to lift components and modules which weigh up to several hundred kilograms. A finished tube head can ultimately measure up to 1.6 m in height. And our biggest models, which are later used to produce plastic bottles that have up to six layers, can weigh up to a total of five tons. For this work, too, there is no alternative to cranes.” While two new cranes were supplied, two existing cranes were modified for the new tasks by means of refurbishment carried out by Demag Service. The crane girders were shortened to the required span dimension About Terex Material Handling of 8.41 m and provided with new connecting plates to attach the existing end carriages. One of these cranes was also equipped with a new DR-Com rope hoist in order to achieve a lifting height of almost nine meters. The intralogistics solution was also supplemented by two wall-mounted travelling cranes that were installed at the end of the bay, where modules are pre-assembled for the machines. The lifting motions in this area are provided by electric travelling DC-Pro chain hoists that have a load capacity of 1.6 t. In contrast to the very short crane runway, the cranes each have an outreach of nine meters. Cable-connected DSE control pendants are employed here due to the relatively short crane runway. Roger Mahrle: “At these workplaces, we wanted to achieve a maximum coverage by the cranes so that they can serve any point in the pre-assembly area. At the same time, we managed to double the benefits, since the use of wall-mounted travelling cranes left us with the entire floor space available for assembly. And by dismantling and re-using existing crane runway rails, we were able to reduce the budget for this assembly area even further.” This co-operation between Demag Sales and Service made it possible to compile a competitive offer for the logistics in the new building at Soplar SA. Ultimately, the maintenance work and – if necessary – fast response times provided by Demag Service in recent years had formed the basis for the decision in favor of the crane supplier. After the logistics and assembly operations, administration and technical center moved into the new building in the summer of 2014, CEO Roger Mahrle looked back over the project: “We are highly satisfied, since everybody pulled together to ensure that our investment targets were attained in line with our schedule. The result meets our expectations in full: maximum utilization of the available space with the greatest possible flexibility for our assembly processes. The crane systems installed at our plant also played a decisive role in the achievement of our goals.” Photos: Terex Material Handling www.demagcranes.com Terex MHPS is one of the world’s leading suppliers of crane technology with Demag industrial cranes and crane components. The core competence of the Terex Material Handling business group lies in the development, design and production of technically sophisticated cranes, hoists and components and the provision of services for these products. The business group manufactures in 19 countries on five continents and is present in more than 60 countries, reaching customers in more than 100 countries. f+h Intralogistics 1/2015 39

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