Weckenmann Anlagentechnik

Upper Austrian manufacturer of precast ­elements invests in the future

In the Upper Austrian city of Perg Habau is operating one of the most efficient precast concrete factories of the country. The company is producing large-scale precast elements used in industrial, commercial and agricultural construction as well as for stadiums, bridges and much more.

For decades, the Habau group of companies has been a flourishing and longstanding family-owned construction company that is ranking among the top four companies of Austria‘s building industry. Notwithstanding the size, the company is still exclusively owned by the families Halatschek and Heindl. Due to several acquisitions and new foundations, nowadays, the Habau group of companies is not only represented in Austria, but also in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Belarus, Sweden and Slovakia by its own companies and/or participations.

In the Upper Austrian city of Perg Habau is operating one of the most efficient precast concrete factories of Austria. The company is manufacturing large-scale precast concrete elements used in industrial, commercial and agricultural construction and, in addition to this, for stadiums, bridges and other demanding building structures.

Modernization to ensure competitiveness

In the last few years, the company has more and more considered about the modernization of the existing production lines running particularly on stationary tables. In cooperation with the planning office Prilhofer a plant concept was designed and developed, which perfectly fits into the existing plant structure. The aim was to ensure the leading position of Habau within Austria and even beyond by quality, delivery reliability and competitiveness.

The idea was to use a state-of-the-art pallet circulation system, based on the working principle of a transfer car, for the production of the wide product range of plane precast concrete elements. The transfer car used as central handling system can approach the pallet stations in any order required. It is a well-proven system for mix production consisting of a wide variety of products. In this way, the requirment is met to realize various cycle times for different work steps. The pallets can freely pass each other during the individual steps of the process.

When the general meeting gave the go-ahead for this investment everything went quickly. The call for tenders was made in June 2013, and just one month later the machinery and equipment manufacturer Weckenmann Anlagentechnik was awarded a contract as general supplier. Within a very short time, Habau constructed four production halls covering a floor space of about 7,500 m², with two bright halls covering about 3,500 m² being intended for the circulating system. The company‘s own specialist departments provided for both planning and manufacture of the columns, beams and façade elements. This finally resulted in a presentable example of solid precast concrete halls.

In February 2014, the preliminary construction works carried out by the team of Habau were already completed to the extent that Weckenmann could start with the installation one week earlier than scheduled.

Concrete spreader system with porcupine roller

Owing to the limited space conditions on the existing factory premises, the concrete spreader, equipped with a bucket lifting and turning unit, had to be assembled first. Here the well-proven concrete spreader with porcupine roller is used which is distinguished by the best possible dosing of various concrete mix designs, low wear and tear and ease of cleaning.

The spreader is fitted with five internal vibrators immersing individually into the concrete for compacting the upper concrete layers that cannot be compacted by means of the pallet vibration station.

The upper concrete layer is leveled with the aid of a leveling device. High-frequency vibrators are used to ensure an additional compaction of the concrete with a closed surface.

Curing chamber, storage and retrieval unit and transfer car

Then the storage and retrieval unit that can accommodate the pallets both horizontally and vertically was installed at the same time as the curing chamber. A fully automated control system keeps track of where which pallet is situated, at any time. The completely insulated chamber provides an adequate height for pallets with a high superstructure.

The central transfer car is moving into a tunnel in a fully automated process. At the upper side the same there are manual work places for the preparation of reinforcement, formwork and embedded parts. The openings for moving in and out are furnished with safety doors without own hoist drives. But they are actuated through door openers onboard of the transfer car.

The pallets use different routes through the plant depending on the precast concrete element to be produced. For this purpose, the master computer issues so-called job routing sheets which are allocated to the individual pallets. Habau can prepare new plans themselves for final products requiring an adjusted production process. The next pallet position to be approached is automatically defined after every working step done.

Positioning with the aid of laser and vibration system

A total of four overhead laser projection systems assist the workers to ensure the proper position of formwork, embedded parts and reinforcement on the pallet. Prior to this, the pallets are mechanically adjusted to the exact position. A radio remote control displays various types of information. This makes the orientation easier and reduces laser beam flickering.

The compacting system MagVib developed by Weckenmann, which they have already successfully installed in several factories, aroused a great deal of interest among the plant management. The direct and effective connection of high-frequency vibrator and pallet at the optimum positions for the vibration process leads to very good compaction results - even if a wide range of different concrete components is concerned that may be situated on the pallet. The speed control by means of converter feed is of course helpful here too. A positive and desired side effect is the significantly reduced noise pollution in comparison to conventional systems.

Completion ahead of schedule

The demolding station equipped with an hydraulic pallet tilting station is situated in the second hall bay. Before carrying the precast components to the storage yard, they get the necessary finish treatment and are subject to the final quality control.

On April 30, 2014, that is roughly ten months after the tender, the first concrete was placed already. In the following weeks, the start-up of the production line was carried out in cooperation of the parties involved and finally Weckenmann handed over the same to Habau.

Thus, Habau based in Perg has created a flagship plant that will strengthen their leading position in Austria. With Weckenmann as supplier of the machinery and equipment, Habau was supported by a reliable and competent partner. The project teams of both companies have worked hand in hand to pursue the common goal.

Plant Manager, Walter Preisinger, and Project Manager, Alfred Barth, express very satisfied: “We have secured our competitiveness with the modernization of our existing production facility. The project was completed on time and on budget. This indicates the fact that we have chosen the right partner with Weckenmann.”


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