Surface treatment is usually an integral part of the entire manufacturing process in a wide variety of industries. Therefore, the respective work steps such as cleaning, plastic coating, painting and drying must be optimally integrated into the entire process for a smooth and continuous material flow. Flexible, robust and powerful conveyor systems are indispensable for this. The transport of the components to the plant is mainly carried out by means of forklift trucks. Each individual section in the production or logistics line then uses a specific conveyor technology that is designed exactly for the conditions in this area. For the handling of sensitive, freshly painted parts, the hanging of the components has become established. Here, suspended chain conveyors such as Power+Free or circular conveyors are preferred. Since the drive does not travel with Power+Free modules, they are predestined for use in the damp, wet and hot environment of painting and pre-treatment facilities. Even explosion-hazard zones can be passed without damage with this robust technology. In the stations that precede or follow the surface treatment, on the other hand, components from the floor conveyor technology usually dominate. These can ideally be combined with Euro pallets or skids. If robots are used in the production line, transport systems that are set up on the floor also have an advantage. The freedom of movement of the robot arms and thus the unhindered access of the central hand to the workpiece from above are ensured by these conveyor units.
Logistical networking across spatial boundaries
The weakest link in a logistics system are the interfaces at the infeed and outfeed points, where the different conveyor technologies directly meet. The precision of the overall system and the calculability of production depend decisively on the flawless interlinking of the individual subsections. The ATS Group has been developing both floor and overhead conveyors for decades and offers a wide range of modules and systems that can be linked in the most diverse ways. The synergies of the different systems allow users to optimally network and connect their individual areas, as the example of a tractor manufacturer in Bavaria shows: Here, the tractor assembly plants are located at three different sites and thus spatially far away from the surface treatment plants. The KTL plant is optimally supplied via an existing Power+Free system. After completion, the cabs are temporarily stored in a high-rack depot. From here, the deliveries are sent to the tractor plant in the desired sequence and on time. Depending on the complexity of the body, they pass through the small parts plant and pre-assembly beforehand. In order to reliably fulfil these conveying tasks, transfer units from KTL-Power+Free to high-bay storage as well as floor conveyors from high-bay storage to delivery and transfer units from Power+Free to floor conveyors were required. The transfer by the transfer units is completely automatic.
The complete article will appear in the next IST issue (publication date: 18.03.2021).
Author(s): Egon Motzer, ATS-Hero Fördertechnik