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The right transfer system is not an ‘off the shelf’ solution
When a transfer system was needed by one of the leading German automotive manufacturers, there were countless factors influencing its assembly and numerous hurdles to overcome, all the while assuring the highest quality standards. An off-the-shelf transfer system was never going to be the appropriate solution.
Today, interlinking of machines with robotic automation is used to a significant extent for large-scale production. In addition to the optimal use of machine capacity, processing with maximum possible variants is also gaining more and more importance. As an example, one of the leading German car manufacturers required a transfer system for a machining system with minimum spread of swarf and washing machine residues.
Environmental conditions in parts of the plant are quite challenging for materials and surfaces. In addition to the requirements of the materials, even the specific requirements governing operating equipment had to be fulfilled. The company contacted Erhardt+Abt Automatisierungstechnik, which has been providing turnkey automation solutions in diverse industrial sectors for nearly 20 years. As part of the Heitec group of companies it has a widespread network of engineers and technicians in the fields of electrical engineering, computer science and mechatronics, and has created a name for itself, particularly in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries.
Erhardt+Abt invited bids from several suppliers for the conveyor design, but found their solutions to be overly complex, with an implementation that would have been costly. But with an established relationship with MK Technology Group, Erhardt+Abt was keen to see how MK’s Versamove technology would perform in this demanding application.
The Versamove series provides versatile circulating workpiece carrier systems that can be used in practically all areas involving automation and flow of materials. Whatever the application may be, the right system is always available, thanks to the three standardised versions: standard, plus and ultra. The modular design of the systems ensures quick and transparent project planning and designing.
Despite their high degree of standardisation, the Versamove systems are extremely flexible. In the case of the transfer system for the automotive manufacturer, the demanding environmental conditions to which the system would be exposed meant a special and particularly resistant workpiece carrier was necessary. As Erhardt+Abt technical director Michael Frieß explains, that was not at all a problem with MK: “Engineers at Erhardt+Abt and MK working on this project jointly developed a workpiece carrier tailored to meet the requirements of this system.” MK was also easily able to implement even the car manufacturer’s regulations that governed the operating equipment. MK has already designed some systems for the automotive industry and experts at the company are fully aware of the requirements for these systems. In this case they were able to adjust individual components for the project so that the requirements were fulfilled.
“That was one of the main reasons behind deciding in favour of the MK system,” says Frieß. “This simplified integration into the entire project.”
MK assisted during the entire project right from the joint preliminary discussions with Erhardt+Abt and its customer through to installation and commissioning in the plant itself. “During ongoing operations, the system met absolutely all of our expectations", says Frieß. “Even the project managers at the car manufacturer are extremely satisfied with the way the entire project has been executed.”
After commissioning MK continued to be a vital point of contact for Erhardt+Abt: “They have given us an excellent aftersales service,” says Frieß, “with adjustments to the system implemented quickly and easily.” He adds that MK has made a substantial contribution to the project, commenting: “We felt very well cared for at all times.”
With the success of the first project, a second plant is now in operation. “The price of the system is good, the cooperation was excellent and everything was entirely to our expectations,” says Frieß. “So why should we change?" Indeed, with the cooperation between MK and Erhardt+Abt being such a success story, a third large facility is currently being built for the car manufacturer. Frieß is still impressed: “Our customer is satisfied. We are also a very satisfied customer and we will definitely contact mk for further projects too.”
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