For the enlargement of the production capacities at one of its plants, a major German automobile manufacturer placed a contract with Blumenbecker Engineering LLC, working in collaboration with another company, for the automation of the linked conveying system in the semi-finished building.
The automotive plant produces up to 1,350 finished vehicles along with additional bodies every day. The task was to create a skid conveyor system with a length of around four kilometres while ensuring that a production target of 750 vehicles a day would still be met. Skids are steel platforms on which the car bodies move on the conveyor by means of a roller track. Rotating tables allow the bodies to be correctly aligned and the direction to be adjusted horizontally to any angle. Vertical conveyors move the car bodies to the transport and production level of the production hall.
The project was launched in September 2013, with completion scheduled for December 2014. Originally, the plant was only intended to be used for a single model. Another of the company’s models proved so successful, however, that additional production capacities were needed, so the company decided to produce it in the partially finished new building, too. The only problem was that the new model needed to be able to roll off the production line three months earlier. This called for a highly flexible response on the part of Blumenbecker Engineering. The engineering work, switchgear production and installation of the system all had to be accelerated and the programming and commissioning brought forward. The only way to achieve this was by involving additional staff.The fibre optic technology used for the project presented the team with a further challenge. This was that there were about 720 drive modules and other components to be controlled, but neither Blumenbecker nor its suppliers had ever installed a fibre optic system on this scale before. However, the project was completed on schedule, and with over a hundred thousand vehicles having come off the line so far, has fully proved itself in practice.
The project in figures