Intelligent integration: automated blast, drill & saw line for Hahner

Published

Wheelabrator and CNC systems expert FICEP are taking process integration to its super-efficient extreme, with a fully integrated and automated blast, drill and saw line for German steel company Hahner.

The line in brief

The line, developed and integrated jointly by FICEP and Wheelabrator, skips countless individual manual work steps, reduces unnecessary storage times and eliminates a myriad of sources of error in the production process.

 Blast machine
 Wheelabrator roller conveyor shot blast machine RB 1500G
 Machine opening: 1600mm x 550mm
 Processing speed for surface grade B Sa 2.5: circa 1.4 – 1.9 m/min (plate) & 0.7 – 1.4 m/min (profile)
 Blast wheels: 4 ROTO-JET blast wheels with 11kW each
 Abrasive velocity: 80 m/s
 Saw & drill equipment:
 FICEP Endeavour 601 DDB
 Max. profile dimensions: 600mm x 310mm
 Max. workpiece length: 18m
 Two drill units with 15kW and 180 – 2500rpm each, one can be rotated to work on both sides of the workpiece, an additional traversing axis for singing and milling
 High-speed saw with 9kW, can be swivelled between -45º and +60º
 Completely automated, with magnet loading system and unloading conveyor

Challenges

Bernhard Hahner, Managing Director at Hahner Stahlbau, explains: "The new line is the result of a new approach to production. We wanted to be able to do more, but also do things a lot more efficiently. That means intelligent integration left, right and centre, and just-in-time delivery. Wheelabrator and FICEP helped us develop a production line that, fundamentally, is a vast and clever transport system for steel plate, with integrated blast, drill and saw facilities."

Workpieces are simply loaded at one end of the 100m long line and then pass through various processing steps autonomously, on a labyrinth of roller conveyors. First stop is the Wheelabrator shot blast machine, which puts together its own batches, starts automatically only when needed, and engages the blast media flow with pinpoint precision. Workpieces that are only shotblasted are diverted for loading straight after the blast process.

Solution

Bernhard Hahner: "Until now, we’ve always had our shotblasting done externally. Integrating the blast machine tightens complex processes, shortens storage times, generally improves the quality of our outputs and reduces risks associated with handling and transport. It also allows us to offer flexible and cost-effective subcontract shotblast services here in Germany, within incredibly easy distance of our customers."

All further transport of the workpiece – to work stations or further processing equipment – is also fully automated. In principle, Hahner is not against the manual distribution workpieces, diverting them off long roller conveyors towards their destined next work step. However, in a busy production environment, it can quickly become quite taxing for the operator to keep an eye on the movements of each and every part and remembering, which part is needed at which welding station.

That’s why a roller conveyor track can be automated as a CNC axis, enabling the predetermination at planning stage of end points for every piece of material. After the last process step, each piece travels to its final destination without further manual interference and can be unloaded at exactly the right point.

When it comes to workpiece logistics and various loading tasks before and between process steps, automation and clever integration can unlock considerable cost-savings at forward-thinking companies like Hahner.

While drill and saw lines have been able to process profiles automatically for some time, the loading of shorter pieces in particular has remained a manual job. This is where the magnetic loading system on a FICEP saw comes in, with straightforward automation allowing an interrupted workflow through the machine and reducing the physical strain on the operator, who previously had to lift and shift heavy cut ends.

Operators also no longer have to constantly keep an eye on every work step, to intervene correctively, smooth away obstacles or unload parts intended to skip a certain process. At Hahner, all this is now done automatically, reliably and without supervision.

Result

Bernhard Hahner: "The new line has been designed to allow our team to go home after the day shift, while the line does another shift. This, as well as overall tighter and smarter processes, enables us to radically reduce the processing hours per tonne of steel. We can also do more (elongated holes, complex geometries, a broader range of processable part dimensions), and can run more exotic workpiece specifications swiftly and cost-efficiently."

A production line as sophisticated as this one demands high standards when it comes to the performance of the integrated blast machine. Tomas Golz, Managing Director at FICEP, comments on choosing the blast equipment: "The whole project at Hahner revolved around investing in solid, flexible and sustainably economical foundations. The Wheelabrator equipment ticks all these boxes. It combines state-of-the-art blast technology and uniquely low running costs, can be automated flexibly and is incredibly sturdy. The result: only strong links in the chain."

Related Pages

Transportadores de Roletes

Transportadores de Roletes e Máquinas com Roletes Inclinados para chapas, vigas, lingotes e estruturas soldadas.

Leia mais

Fabricação de Aço

Preparação de Superfícies para Estruturas de Aço

Leia mais