Potthoff modernizes and optimizes the production of lattice girder slabs and double walls

An extensive modernization bears fruit at A. Potthoff GmbH based in the Münsterland region of Germany: Thanks to sophisticated plant technology of EBAWE and Progress Maschinen & Automation, the company is now producing substantially more lattice girder slabs and double walls with an equal number of employees.

After more than two decades, during which the plant had been in continuous production of lattice girder slabs and double walls, the family-run company Potthoff founded in the Münsterland region in 1950 decided to realize an extensive modernization project in 2017. The aim was to increase the production output substantially with an equal number of employees and to optimize the work processes even more. For the implementation of the project, the company relied once again on the machinery and equipment specialists, EBAWE Anlagentechnik based in Eilenburg and Progress Maschinen & Automation, as they did for the first plant. Both companies are part of the Progress Group. At the beginning of 2018, the new production line based on sophisticated plant technology was successfully put into operation, with achieving an increase in production by more than 20 %.

 

The company

The family-run company Potthoff managed by general manager Achim Potthoff has a present workforce of 230 people working at ten locations in three main business segments: ready-mixed concrete, precast concrete elements and in the agricultural sector.

The company operates a total of ten facilities in the field of ready-mixed concrete, five in North Rhine-Westphalia and five in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. In the precast concrete segment, which has been operated at the location of the company head office in Rosendahl-Osterwick in the Münsterland region for 25 years now, Potthoff primarily concentrates on the products lattice girder slabs and double walls, precast concrete staircases and so-called „Lego blocks“ made of concrete. In the agricultural field of activity, the company focuses on horse breeding and show jumping, where the two children, Alexander and Alina-Noel, take part in national and international tournaments very successfully.

 

Quality and regionality

Under the motto „quality and regionality“, the company was able to expand their strong local market position in the field of precast concrete elements over the last few years: Potthoff supplies customers within a radius of about 100 km. The customer base predominantly consists of construction companies and companies of the building materials trade in the fields of residential and industrial construction as well as agricultural construction.

As the first manufacturing plant has been successfully operating over a period of almost 25 years now, the company saw that the time had come for an extensive modernization project in 2017. Moreover, the production hall was totally undersized, and the existing crane capacities had reached their limits. Owing to the positive and increasing demand in the last few years, the company management decided to realize an all-round modernization, enabling them to further promote the company motto of quality and regionality persuasively.

 

Sophisticated machine technology

The production expansion not only included the integration of new pallets with stacking feature into the carrousel plant, but also the introduction of new flexible manufacturing machines with a lower noise level, such as the combined unit for cleaning, oiling and plotting and modern machine technology for the compaction of concrete.

The sophisticated combined turning and stacking unit is a core component of the new plant; this unit allows both turning of the second shell into the double-wall production and, in addition, it meets the function of a stacking device for manual and automated stacking of pallets. Hence, they managed to achieve an optimum productivity on a very limited production space. The latest machine technology is complemented by the elaborate Progress Group carrousel control system and the Ebos master computer comprising numerous tools, such as the pallet configuration program.

 

Complete solution from a single source

True to the motto „smart complete solutions from a single source“, the reinforcement system could not be ignored in the course of the overall modernization of the production either. In close co-operation with Progress Maschinen & Automation, also a company of the Progress Group, Potthoff developed a reinforcement concept for the new production line. The already existing cutting and straightening machine supplied by Progress Maschinen & Automation was integrated in the new manufacturing concept and successfully implemented together with the new production line for lattice girder slabs and double walls.

At the beginning of 2018, the modernization proj-ect was completed only after a few months and the entirely modernized plant was put into operation. General manager Achim Potthoff expressed very satisfied: „The first plant we already implemented very successfully with EBAWE and Progress Maschinen & Automation more than 20 years ago. The cooperation and the collaboration always were characterized by a very positive atmosphere on a personal level. In addition, we are convinced by the holistic approach of the Progress Group, providing us with a comprehensive implementation concept for machines suited to the precast concrete industry as well as the reinforcement sector. In this way, the production output could be increased from 800 to 1,000 m² of precast concrete elements per day with an equal workforce. We are very satisfied.“

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