Near Gdansk, Ebawe Anlagentechnik and Progress Maschinen & Automation, both subsidiaries of the Progress Group, have recently installed one of the most advanced precast concrete plants throughout Poland. The ultra-modern factory complies with the current state of technology that is internationally available. The especially erected new factory building comprises two levels. The lower level accommodates the carousel plant for the production of lattice girder floors and double walls with and without insulation as well as traditional walls as an additional product. The fully automated reinforcement station is situated on the upper level and consists of lattice girder welding machine, mesh welding plant and magnet crossbeam. With this state-of-the-art machinery technology, the customer Pekabex is equipped for all kinds of requests of the local market.
The major advantages of the new carousel plant are explained by Christophe Carion, board member of the Pekabex Group, as follows: „The new plant allowed us to extent our product portfolio and to manufacture double walls for the first time. The high degree of automation, on the one hand, increased the quality of our final products considerably and, on the other hand, we achieve a higher output owing to the accelerated production process. Thus, we were able to quadruple our production capacity.“
Fully automated shuttering process
The production cycle in the new plant starts with the entry of a pallet in the automated area to the deshuttering robot. The pallet is scanned, the shuttering elements are removed fully automatically and are carried to a roller conveyor for cleaning and storage. Once the pallet has passed through the pallet cleaner and the waste conveyor has transported the concrete residues away for further processing, the release agent is applied to the cleaned shuttering surface in an automated process, that is to say only to the part of the shuttering surface where concrete will be placed. Afterwards, the pallet moves to the shuttering robot.
All working steps of the shuttering process are carried out automatically by the „FormMaster“ shuttering robot: It places magnets for electrical outlets by means of a gripping tool, positions the shuttering elements, provided with release agent before, automatically on the pallet according to CAD-CAM specifications, and the integrated plotter is plotting contours and other information such as the position of embedded parts on the pallets. Loading of the 60 pallets with integrated edge shuttering is carried out by the Infinity Notch-Free shuttering system.
Automated reinforcement station
The newly developed M-System BlueMesh mesh welding machine supplies the pallet carousel plant with the reinforcement wire mesh required. This cost-efficient machine operates in an energy-saving manner and requires only minimal space. For the production of lattice girder floors, the machine is additionally equipped with an automated bending system for bending the projections of the bars on the face end. This enables right-angle bending of rebars for lattice girder floors in longitudinal and transverse direction as well as bending up those used for walls. Customized bending solutions are also realized without any problems. The magnet crossbeam transfers the finished wire mesh through an opening in the floor of the second level and positions them on the pallet automatically. The integrated stacker lift truck allows for a smooth transport to the manual insertion stations of those mesh that cannot be inserted automatically. For the production of insulated double walls, fully automated insertion of the third reinforcement wire mesh is realized in Gdansk with the aid of the magnet crossbeam, for the first time, without interrupting the production process.
The highly flexible VGA Versa lattice girder welding machine provides for a high-quality and cost-optimized process flow in the supply of reinforcement elements. The principle of just-in-time production enables manufacturing every lattice girder individually and exactly fitting, thus eliminating storage costs and cutting scrap. This lattice girder welding machine offers the advantage of fully automated height adjustment and a correspondingly automated wire-diameter change function. The lattice girders are carried to the lower level by means of an elevator and then they are inserted by a robot.
Integrated carousel and master computer technology
Once concrete has been placed for the elements to be manufactured, the customer Pekabex has two different compaction systems: a low-frequency vibration unit for lattice girder floors and a dynamic vibration unit for particularly heavy loads or double walls with and without insulation. For the production of traditional walls, a smoothing unit with integrated external vibrator is used for smoothing the concrete. Whereas lattice girder floors are passing a roughening unit after compaction.
The automated storage and retrieval unit transfers the pallets with the freshly concreted elements into the pallet rack and removes them after hardening. Lattice girder floor slabs are removed then, whereas the manufacture of the second layer takes place in case of double walls. The turning unit provides for assembling of the two layers including the pallets and thus the manufacture of the double wall. The hardened double wall is brought in a vertical position with the aid of the tilting device and then removed by the indoor crane.
Ebos is used in the new plant in Poland as an overall solution for work process planning, production and process analysis. This master control system software was developed by Progress Software Development, another company of the Progress Group. In addition to the main module and the numerous connection modules for the machines operating fully automatically, the customer is also furnished with an automated pallet assignment and applications for automated printing of work sheets, labels and reports. Thus, extensive interface problems are eliminated, and all work processes can be performed in a single, homogeneous, and user-friendly system.
With sophisticated logistics to a perfect plant
The new production plant of Pekabex is characterized by maximum automation, few operators and a quick production process with high output. Attention was also paid to a strict separation of the processes. This ensures separate ways for every finished product and the material flow provided with independent accesses was realized completely separate. Hence, the company is in the position to manufacture reinforcement mesh for an external production as well as special products during ongoing operation. „The planning phase was very elaborate but the effort was worthwhile – we have got the perfect plant,“ Christophe Carion praises above all the good cooperation in the development of the layout as well as in the installation phase.
Kokoszki Prefabrykacja S.A.
Pekabex Capital Group
Ul. Geodetow 17
+48 58 309 33 00
Ebawe Anlagentechnik GmbH
Dübener Landstraße 58
+49 3423 665-0
Progress Maschinen & Automation AG
+39 0472 979-100
Progress Software Development GmbH
+39 0472 979-900