Progress Maschinen & Automation

High company standards through comprehensive plant modernization

Hans Rinninger u. Sohn GmbH u. Co. KG, a successful family business, celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2009. Thanks to the positive development of the German construction industry in recent years, the company continued to flourish and even doubled its staff, which currently comprises around 200 highly qualified employees. They process up to 2,500 t of concrete per day into a wide variety of different precast concrete elements.

Jörg Rinninger, his father Hans Rinninger and his trusted partner of many years, Marcus Winterfeld, represent the company management. Jörg Rinninger joined the company in 2005 after having worked as site manager with a building contractor for several years. The amiable family man is now leading the company in the fourth generation.

 

Strong through product diversity and end-to-end solutions

Hans Rinninger u. Sohn GmbH u. Co. KG has been based in the Allgäu town of Kisslegg since its formation over 100 years ago. In two production facilities, the company manufactures the full range of precast concrete elements for the completion of entire building construction, civil engineering and road construction projects, which are implemented throughout Germany and Europe. In addition to conventional products such as precast floor slabs and double walls, the company’s product portfolio also includes innovative products such as the thermal wall. With a share of approx. 80%, commercial and industrial construction constitutes the overwhelming majority of the company’s projects, while the remaining 20% are accounted for by the private construction sector. “We can prove our strengths especially in large-scale and comprehensive projects,” says Jörg Rinninger. “These extend from our own structural engineer and technical draftsman via the flexibility of our different departments all the way to our own transport fleet and customer service.”

 

Investment secures competitiveness

Rinninger says that numerous reasons led to the decision to invest extensively in the replacement and addition of machines and plants in order to secure the company’s future competitiveness. On the one hand, customer requirements had grown steadily over time: today‘s customers preferred solutions from a single source, and expectations regarding product quality had also continued to increase in recent years. However, changes in the product spectrum have also resulted in growing requirements: the relation between floor slab and wall production, for example, has changed fundamentally; wall production has increased to a share of 60% in total production. Moreover, new products have been added such as the thermal wall which places high requirements on the manufacturing process.

In the management’s opinion, it would not have been possible in the long term to overcome all of these challenges with the old production facilities. The major challenges were considered to be the interfaces in production and the process control system.

The company therefore opted, as early as 2016, for an extensive modernization of the existing floor slab and wall production, enlisting the services of Progress Maschinen & Automation and EBAWE who are both member companies of the Progress Group. “What convinced us,” Rinninger remembers, “was the fact that Progress was able to offer an effective end-to-end solution from a single source. What additionally appealed to us was that we were able to implement the entire project with just one contact partner.”

 

Increased automation in pallet circulation

The modernization measures implemented in pallet circulation included, among other things, a new fully automated concrete spreader, new compaction unit, pallet cleaning and oiling system, formwork transportation and cleaning system, the innovative FormMaster shuttering and deshuttering robot paired with the Progress precision formwork, and a special storage robot that systematically manages formwork storage.

The new fully automated concrete spreader will enable the company to perform the concrete pouring operation as quickly as possible in an autonomous process which assures optimized concrete proportioning but does not require the presence of a competent employee, thus saving both labor and material costs.

The FormMaster shuttering and deshuttering robot also contributes to the labor-optimized production process: in a first step of the operation, an integrated plotter draws the required contours onto the pallet. In the next step, electrical socket magnets und shuttering profiles are precisely placed on the pallet in an automated process and within an extremely short period of time.

The process is complemented by the use of the patented Progress precision formwork which enables the shuttering of elements without the use of any polystyrene supplements. This results not only in a significant reduction of material costs but also in a minimized manual shuttering effort and noticeable improvement in quality as polystyrene frequently poses a problem especially along exposed edges. The shuttering section is completed by a special storage robot which makes a further contribution to process and cost optimization.

 

Optimizing reinforcement preparation

Reinforcement preparation was optimized by integrating the Progress Wire Center reinforcement plant and flexible VGA Versa lattice girder welding machine.

The Wire Center comprises the multi-strand MSR 16/6 multi-rotor wire straightening and cutting machine which permits fully automated wire diameter changes in just a few seconds, thus enabling all wire diameters to be provided “just in time”. Further features of the Wire Center include an automatic sorting and feeding system for plastic spacers, a bending machine for crimping the ends of the bars on one or both sides, as well as a magazine serving as a deposit and buffer storage for the bars which can be retrieved from the system and lifted onto the pallet automatically as needed.

The introduction of the VGA Versa lattice girder welding machine will significantly reduce costs for the storage of lattice girders in fixed lengths. The machine is capable of producing all heights between 70 mm and 360 mm. It dispenses with the otherwise difficult procurement of small order-related lot sizes. Costs incurred by waste will also no longer be an issue.

 

EBOS process control system ensures perfect coordination

The EBOS process control system represents the new core element of the plant and provides numerous extended features such as automatic pallet assignment, printing of labels, printing of reports and production analyses, as well as links to the different machines for reinforcement preparation, the shuttering robot and the company’s proprietary ERP system. “Optimizing the different interfaces in production was a matter of particular concern to us, and the new EBOS process control system enabled us to achieve a significant improvement,” says Rinninger.

 

Outlook

Managing director Jörg Rinninger is extremely satisfied with the way the project was implemented: “It has taken us only a few weeks to complete the modernization of our entire wall and floor slab production in accordance with our own specific objectives. Looking back, we were particularly pleased with the customer-focused and flexible approach by the Progress Group. We are now fully equipped to continue offering our customers sophisticated solutions using innovative and high-quality precast concrete products.”

The further automation of both precast element production and reinforcement preparation, and the introduction of the new EBOS process control system not only achieved an immediate cost reduction in the production process but also allowed production to be expanded from one and a half to two shifts due to reduced staff requirements. The modernization measures implemented thus enabled Hans Rinninger u. Sohn GmbH u. Co. KG to continue to build on the previously high company standards.

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