Innovative modular reinforcement assembly system

Skew Engineering, a design company for reinforcement assembly products, provides a fast and streamlined work methodology to the precast industry. Real-life experience through continuous contact with the rebar industry resulted in the realization of a unique, reusable rebar assembly system called Jiggelo. This modular reinforcement assembly system provides precast companies with the means to upgrade manual production of reinforcing elements to an industrial, machine-based process. The system revolutionizes the activity of its operators, who make significant progress over time while using the Jiggelo. Operators quickly recognize and learn the best possible assembly method. On the Jiggelo, this process is ergonomic and provides precise positioning to a consistently high quality standard. Since its launch at the beginning of 2009, the modular Jiggelo system has been successfully implemented in 16 countries in a wide range of work environments. Being reusable, the system is environmentally friendly and reduces the company’s carbon footprint.

Jiggelo is the first genuine equipment designed exclusively for rebar assembly to improve the work of steel fixers/welders and to deliver high-quality elements for the fabrication of reinforced concrete products, i.e. (ground) beams, columns, box culverts, pile caps, staircases, (foundation) cages and walls.

The Jiggelo modular concept comprises flexible, multi-functional parts – reusable components that can be built into a varied range of model set-ups for specific purposes. The innovative quick Connect Key System makes it possible to modify, rebuild, or extend existing systems, or to divide them into smaller units to implement the most effective assembly method for each new reinforcing element. The Connect Key System also enables quick dismantling of the Jiggelo model into stock parts, which adds flexibility to temporarily maximize the valuable production area for other purposes.

Consistently high quality

(Production) managers are able to organize several projects simultaneously using static Jiggelo work stations in a strategic set-up. Alterations can be made within seconds to respond to daily changes in assembly for each project. Due to the self-explanatory, quick erection process, large Jiggelo models can be installed within hours rather than days. Even dreaded last-minute revisions can still be made within minutes of receiving the information.

Once the system has been set up, loose rebar is assembled to high-quality reinforcing elements with great ease and in a shortened time span. Time and motion studies of the rebar assembly procedures before and on the Jiggelo highlighted the reduced number of activities the operator performs while assembling rebar elements.

The system can be used for the most complex and unique reinforcement shapes that would otherwise be difficult or uneconomical to handle on machines. The Jiggelo system provides the basis for bespoke add-ons, thus improving the assembly process both in terms of ergonomics and production efficiency.

Pre-set lines, angles and spacers contribute to the consistently high quality of the reinforcement in concrete elements. Perfect positioning is ensured by placing rebar on a calibrated system. Innovative grips hold the reinforcing bars on the required planes at incremental 25 mm distances. The high-precision Jiggelo fabrication process ensures perfect concrete cover for reinforced elements. A consistently high quality standard is required for products when reinforcing elements are to be assembled from combinations of sub-assemblies and standard mesh.

Production methodology

The Jiggelo system provides an easy-to-learn, structured work method. Compared to traditional assembly procedures, the system eliminates unnecessary work steps. By reducing the number of actions for reinforcement assembly, Jiggelo creates a natural streamlining of the procedure and a more transparent and lean production process. Since the unique Jiggelo process involves “loose positioning” rather than the conventional “fastened positioning”, decision makers in the industry repeatedly referred to this process as a revolution. Rebar is first positioned loosely yet accurately and then fastened.

Once all the element’s loose rebar has been positioned, fastening can be completed using any available method.

Assembly of rebar elements can vary day after day, including bespoke solutions and small series. Standardization using a single work method appears to be insufficient to handle all the daily challenges. Flexibility is the key to respond to constant changes in daily production. Man is recognized as being flexible but it takes skill and time to deliver quality products consistently. Machines are set up for mass production and produce to a consistently high quality standard, but they are used for standardized output, which limits their flexibility. The answer to this question is to combine human input with a tool that consistently ensures high-quality products. This approach enhances and increases the work process capability to machine standards, but it also provides the flexibility that is often needed.

Aging workforce

Around the world, the number of skilled steel fixers is decreasing due to the “3 Ds” (Dirty, Dangerous and Demeaning) and a long learning curve. The fact that this job is unpopular with young workers has created a shortage of qualified ‘young blood’, and scarcity of knowledge is growing in the trade. This downward trend in the knowledge base calls for alternative systems to enhance the strengths and extend the activity of an aging steel fixer trade.

Jiggelo is the perfect system to increase the learning curve for new workers and to ease the work procedure in general.

An ergonomic and standardized production method makes work more pleasant and easier for the user. Reduction in stress levels and RSI makes work safer and, even more importantly, reduces injuries or accidents and thus sick leave. Loose rebar held in position by the Jiggelo provides the steel fixer with a hands-free situation, implements a stress-free work environment and allows the operator to always fasten the material in a good posture with ease. Additionally, the need to lift and/or hold heavy bars is reduced because the Jiggelo platform is equipped with specially designed, ergonomic add-ons for workers to manipulate bars independently. The working height on the Jiggelo is variable, which prevents the steel fixer from performing overhead work or having to bend down, thus reducing undue strain beyond physical limits.

The Jiggelo modular reinforcement assembly system enhances reinforcing steel processing significantly for the precast industry. It ensures high accuracy, flexibility and the enhancement and expansion of skills of workers because of the fast learning curve. Moreover, the Jiggelo reduces the number of work steps during rebar assembly, protects workers, and provides virtually unlimited set-up options for specific rebar elements.

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