Systembau Eder GmbH & Co. KG invested 12 million euros in the Kallham, Austria location and in so doing (according to the manufacturer) has erected one of the most modern production plants for precast elements in Europe. The innovative technology was delivered by Ebawe Anlagentechnik and Progress Maschinen & Automation, and the software, by Progress Software Development: all three are companies in the Progress Group. The new plant is highly automated and features sophisticated and cleverly thought-out machine technology. With it, Eder manufactures double walls with and without insulation, as well as precast floor plates.
Successful family enterprise trains its own next generation
The Upper Austrian Eder Group can look back to the year 1897 on a successful company history. Beginning from a brick plant in Peuerbach-Bruck, this company developed over the decades into an innovative corporate group consisting of brick plants, ready-mix concrete plants as well as a system construction department specialized in the development of precast elements.
In 1994, the first pallet carousel system was put into operation for production of a range of structural precast elements such as double walls and precast floor plates for floor systems. The diversity of the precast elements manufactured broadened with the increasing expansion of the system construction department. Today, the Eder Group offers precast floor plates, precast staircases and balcony slabs as well as special precast elements of all sorts.
The company currently employs a workforce of 140, 110 of whom work in Kallham and a staff of 30 in the technical offices in Peuerbach. The focus lies on training apprentices: 22 of the 25 previously trained apprentices now work for Eder, some of them in executive positions. The company is successfully headed by the Managing Director Franz Josef Eder.
Partnership that builds confidence
Following the purchase and the successful operation of the model VGA Versa lattice-girder welding machine from Progress Maschinen & Automation, the Eder Group decided to plan and implement its newest precast element production in close collaboration with the various specialists of the Progress Group. New application areas and the increasingly modern architecture of commercial and industrial buildings made a technical adjustment of the production possibilities increasingly urgent for Eder. Managing Director Franz Josef Eder, who is also President of the Association of Austrian Concrete and Precast Plants, expressed satisfaction: “With the new carousel system we can manufacture double walls for our customers up to a height of twelve meters under optimal conditions. Accordingly, we are ideally equipped for the future.”
Automation by the new carousel system
With the new pallet carousel system from Ebawe Anlagentechnik, the Eder Group is taking another important step towards full automation of precast element production. The new production system, installed at the Kallham location in Austria, ensures highly automated precast production of double walls, insulated double walls and floor plates. The precast elements manufactured there are primarily used in housing and industrial construction. At peak times, the new production system can be operated with a capacity of up to six pallets per hour. A FormMaster shuttering robot, supported by a gripping tool, is also able to position magnets for electrical outlets. Other key elements of the new carousel system are a demolding robot, automated reinforcement production, a newly developed concrete spreader, compaction stations, stacker cranes, turnover stations, a lifting beam and a tilting station for demolding and removing the elements.
The new carousel plant is operated with the modular Infinity Line Notch-Free shuttering system. With this system, the elements on the pallets can be shuttered without gaps and without the additional use of filler elements. The patented formwork system also allows shuttering without chamfer blockouts. This allows flawless production of external edges. The Infinity Line Notch-Free formwork system is designed to manufacture precast elements of high quality in simplified and cost-optimized production.
The technology of the Ebawe concrete spreader, successful until now, has recently been further developed. At the Eder Group, the new Ebawe eCon Drive concrete spreader with a range of innovative features was put into operation for the first time. The fully automated concrete spreader is impressive with very fast discharge times and with uniform and high-precision batching. With regard to cost effectiveness, the eCon Drive offers considerable advantages as well. The further-developed technology results in reduced wear of the screws and elimination of the need for barrier agent.
In the new Eder concrete plant, the concrete spreader travels on a spur track directly to the concrete mixing plant set up at the external façade, where it is supplied with fresh concrete. This configuration ensures lower logistics effort and allows concentration of washing and cleaning work on the concrete equipment in one place.
Reinforcement production 4.0
Reinforcement production in the new Eder carousel system is completely automated. The automated Mesh Spacer positions the spacers for the reinforcing mesh on the pallet. Placement is optimized and is based on calculations of the element size and the weight of the reinforcement, which results in increased saving potential for the required spacers.
The flexible BlueMesh reinforcing mesh welding system, which is part of the M-system series, is impressive with its numerous possibilities of application in the new plant. In just-in-time production, the mesh welding plant can make full use of its flexibility and delivers the mesh to the pallet carousel system in good time for the production needs of the carousel. In addition to these advantages, the system can also be used for serial production for mesh storage. For production of floor plates, the machine is additionally equipped with an automatic unit for right-angle bending of the projections of the bars on the face end. The automatic magnet crossbar can not only turn over the mesh and place it in the pallet, but can also deposit the manufactured mesh on a stacker car for external purposes. These can, for example, be used for other production areas on location, such as for structural precast components or for a third reinforcing layer in insulated double walls.
In addition, the highly flexible VGA Versa lattice-girder welding machine ensures high-quality and cost-optimized process flow in the supply of reinforcing materials. This lattice-girder welding system offers the advantage of fully automated height adjustment as well as an automated wire-diameter change function. Thanks to these technical advantages, the VGA Versa not only reduces production times, with no conversion to the various heights being required, but also lowers expenses due to savings in storage costs and in waste. The lattice girders manufactured here are placed fully onto the prepared pallets automatically by a multi-axis robot.
Package solutions from a single source
The cost advantages derived from the ebos process control system are clearly apparent in all areas of precast concrete production. Ebos was developed by Progress Software Development, which is also a company in the Progress Group, and is continuously adapted to meet the increasing requirements of the precast concrete industry. The various connection modules for the sub-systems ensure that the right data are always available at the right time and place, and that the entire precast production functions smoothly within a single homogeneous system. Complex interfaces are avoided, and customers enjoy the advantages of having from a single source the entire scope of performance, including simple user guidance.
In designing the new system, special attention was given to optimizing the working environment in addition to automation. The plant also features new social rooms, a spacious restaurant for employees and ergonomic production places. The color design of the interior was also not left to chance, but especially planned by the color psychologist Billa Hebenstreit. The colors green and blue are said to have a calming effect, to improve concentration and to dampen noise.
With its new plant, Eder is taking a new approach to precast production. Not only the dimensions of the elements continue to grow: Eder provides its products already in the plant with all required accessories, including continuous pipes, reinforcement connections, embedded electrical systems and blockouts. The high degree of prefabrication of the concrete components considerably speeds up the flow of work at the construction site and reduces installation work to a minimum. Franz Josef Eder summarizes the advantages of the cooperation of Eder and Progress Group as follows: “The advantages of the Progress Group are clear to us: for one, the pallet carousel system – operated by Progress itself – with profound understanding of the production process. And, secondly, overall solutions from a single source. Interfaces must be reduced to a minimum for successfully completing a project of this complexity.”