The Habau Group is an internationally active full-service supplier in the business sectors of building, underground and precast pipeline construction, deep mining, wood construction as well as steel construction/plant engineering. At the location in Perg in Upper Austria, Habau Hoch- und Tiefbaugesellschaft operates one of Austria’s highest-performance precast plants. To further increase automation in the plant, the family-owned company now counts on the new M-System BlueMesh mesh welding system from Progress Maschinen & Automation, a company of the Progress Group.
The Precast Plant in Perg, Upper Austria, exists since the early 1970s and by now employs a workforce of between 150 and 200. It exclusively manufactures precast elements made to order for industry, trade, infrastructure and housing construction. Its portfolio includes columns, beams, floor slabs and façade panels, balcony slabs, partition walls and bridges in all variations. Constant growth in recent decades has resulted already in 2014 in considerable new investment, when a modern carousel system was taken into operation.
“Purchase of the automatic mesh welding system from Progress is now a logical addition to enable exploitation of the high capacities of the carousel system,” explains Hubert Wetschnig, CEO of the Habau Group.
Functional beam bender
Previously, production of reinforcement for the two-dimension precast elements took place manually, for which at least two to three workers were required for up-bending the mesh. The especially integrated bending function of the new mesh welding system with two beam benders and two single bending machines leads to significant savings in time and personnel. The difficulty in finding suitable specialized workers also increases the need for Habau to automate certain work steps.
The functional beam benders were specially developed for automated production of bent end products. The hardened bending tools feature a special double cam, by which two different diameters can be bent on one matrix.
The beam benders are supplemented by movable, rotatable single bending machines for maximum flexibility. The two integrated bending units allow simultaneous operation and, as a result, up-bending of spacer stirrups, also in close-spaced mesh. The automatic bending-roller diameter-change function has one additional special feature: instead of the usual three matrices, it is provided with five matrices for still greater flexibility.
Initially, Habau had intended to design mesh bending only with single bending machines. By now, it has become accepted that the additional beam benders result in significant time saving, and that the extra investments pay off. The overall concept of a highly flexible mesh welding system with beam bender and single bending heads represents, according to the manufacturer, the maximum degree of automation in reinforcement production in a carousel system for solid-concrete walls.
Outstanding straightening quality
Automated production started at the beginning of May and Walter Preisinger – Division Manager for Precast Construction – is satisfied: “The straightening quality is outstanding and the bars are extremely straight, also over lengths of 8 and 9 m.” The new mesh welding system is designed for single-shift production, targeted at 100 % capacity utilization. The full production capacity for slabs is approx. 200 m² per hour. Habau also manufactures some highly specialized and very large parts with cut-outs that require special knowledge by the planners. The reinforcing mesh can be manufactured in widths up to 5.10 m and can produce a reinforcing cage with upbends on both sides with a maximum width of 3.9 m. The reinforcing steel with diameters ranging from 6 to 16 mm is directly processed from coil and therefore produces no waste. Gridless welding to individual CAD specifications leads to maximum flexibility in production. Another special feature of the system is automatic labelling and the option to lead off straight bars separately on a roller conveyor.
Habau looks optimistically to the future, despite the current difficult market situation due to the corona crisis. The company has a very broad base and, thanks to its successful development, can look with confidence to the coming months, despite the uncertain prospects.
Decisive for successful cooperation, apart from the positive impression made by Progress plants at various inspections, is smooth communication among the companies. By operating its own precast plant and having the knowhow required for it, Progress was able to add extra benefits and deliver a convincing overall package. There is one particular characteristic that especially unites the two partners: the development of innovative and individually adjusted solutions for the individual customer.