Guest Contributor: Jeroen Brands, Bosch Rexroth
Many customers aim to increase productivity in short-cycle applications, but the space available for the planned systems is limited and often set in stone. That means that our challenge is to potentially double the quantities being produced, whilst using as little space as possible.
Sounds impossible? Actually, it isn’t.
In North America, we’ve already achieved the impossible for one of our customers. The decisive solution that made all the difference was our highly flexible ActiveMover transfer system. It has enabled the customer to consolidate two stations into one, reduce the footprint by 44% per line and produce almost two and a half times the quantity in the same amount of time over virtually the same surface area.
Increasing capacity in limited spaces.
The customer was faced with unexpectedly high demand for a complex product, which required a rapid increase in production. As the plant only had limited space for new systems the customer was forced to connect two machines with different cycle times via a classic conveyor belt with a limited buffer capacity.
The system occupied a space measuring around 80 m². Three multi-stations in the system covered longer processes in order to shorten lead times. The entire process involved a total of nine work steps.
The engineers knew that this current set-up was never going to manage more than 50 products a minute and any planned capacity increase would require the basic layout to be changed.
That’s where we stepped in.
Our team suggested using the ActiveMover transfer system as the central element to the operation. It is composed of straight sections and curved units, with vertically installed, low-wear linear motors, which form a closed oval shape. Workpiece pallets travel across the entire section to precisely specified positions independently of each other. They can even approach several positions within one station, one after the other, and change their direction of travel. The individual processing stations are installed on the ActiveMover’s oval shape from outside which make them easily accessible.
240% more productive with the same surface area.
The engineers were able to integrate all the stations in the ActiveMover in two steps. This allowed them to decouple processing stations with different cycle times and save on a range of multi-stations. The result: as opposed to the original system’s footprint of 80 m², the customer now needs less than 45 m². That corresponds to a space saving of 44%. At the same time, the output per system has increased by 20%. The customer has more or less installed two machines with increased productivity in the original space available, thereby increasing productivity by 240%.
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