Keeping all systems up and running

Keeping all systems up and running

Malfunctions and machine shutdowns pose an especially serious problem in intralogistics, where they can lead to long downtimes. Production and delivery can come to a complete halt. When the systems are of high quality, cost-intensive consequences can be avoided from the very start. But even here, maintenance and service are necessary. The BEUMER Group’s Customer Support team is made up of highly capable experts who look after users’ needs all over the world and ensure high system availability.

In the cement, brick, lime and gypsum industry, in agriculture and mining, and in the chemical, pharmaceutical, energy, beverage, food and luxury goods sectors, containers such as bags, cartons, boxes, canisters and trays must be stacked safely and economically. To meet these needs the BEUMER Group offers innovative solutions for users in many different sectors. An example is the BEUMER robotpac. This space-saving, fully automatic articulated robot is able to perform complex palletizing and depalletizing tasks efficiently and reliably.

BEUMER has developed appropriate, flexibly exchangeable gripper systems for every packaged product. With the paletpac range, the intralogistics specialist provides a high-performance layer palletizer for bags. The geometrical accuracy and stability of the palletized stacks make for problem-free storage and safe integration into the downstream BEUMER stretch hood packaging system. The stretch film fixes and secures the goods reliably on the pallet, at the same time protecting them against the effects of the environment and providing a highly effective display. But the demands on these systems are steadily increasing. Higher throughput rates are often required. “In some industries users need to palletize bags filled with bulk goods more gently,” reports Kornelius Thimm, who has managed the Customer Support division at BEUMER since the summer of 2012. “In such cases one solution is to supply our double belt turning device as an alternative to the existing rotary clamp.”

Comprehensive support

Users of machinery and systems from the Beckum-based specialist have a wide range of service agreements to choose from. “We always match these agreements to the special needs of the customer,” explains Thimm. “Service intervals and response times are contractually specified.” The agreements range from simple maintenance and inspection all the way to permanent deployment of service personnel at the customer’s premises. The Residential Service, for example, includes technical support, preventive maintenance and inspection, contingency planning, analysis and optimization of systems and processes, and management of spare parts and facilities.

“Our goal is always to make intralogistics processes run more smoothly, thus ensuring efficient material flows,” explains Thimm. “We’re not just troubleshooters; we want to prepare companies for future demands on performance and technical sophistication.” In the chemical industry, for example, it is often necessary to handle bags filled with products that have a special flow behavior. They must be stacked on pallets particularly gently, quickly and accurately so that they retain their shape. One way to ensure this is to use the new double belt turning device in the BEUMER paletpac palletizer. The experts from Customer Support simply retrofit existing palletizers with this device. Two separately driven conveyor belts, running in parallel, rotate each bag into the desired position. The belts move at different speeds, making the bag turn by its own weight. The double belt turning device has very few wear parts, which means it needs less maintenance. Another advantage is that it reduces energy costs.

More than just service

For the BEUMER Group, Customer Support is more than just service. It is an independent branch of the company like the three others: conveyor and loading equipment, palletizing and packing technology, and sorting and distribution systems. “In fact, it’s almost a company within the company,” explains Thimm. We have our own marketing team and can implement projects independently.” The goal is always to help users achieve better results. As the head of Customer Support, Thimm discerns a strong trend: although many companies still invest in their own maintenance experts, more and more want to delegate this responsibility. To meet this demand, BEUMER offers a comprehensive service package. The user gets everything from one source. BEUMER employees are responsible for operating times, performance and efficiency of the systems, and they receive regular training on the latest engineering knowledge. Users can therefore stay focused on their main business. Whenever needed, Customer Support sends a team of specialists to the customer’s premises to ensure the availability of the machinery.

If the user prefers to its own personnel for maintenance, the specialists from Customer Support bring machine operators up to date on technological advances and introduce new employees to the systems. This ensures that the systems have a maximum operating life. Training is required when machinery is commissioned, but also after several months of operation, because this is when users are finally able to ask detailed questions. “The training programs are tailored to the customer and his system,” remarks Thimm. If a facility nevertheless shuts down and the user is unable to rectify the defect, technicians posted throughout the world can come to the scene in the shortest possible time to prevent prolonged downtimes. To minimize such outages, the Customer Support hotline is available every day around the clock to provide expert assistance. By means of remote diagnostics the technicians can rapidly remedy any malfunction and get the systems running again. They also determine the cause of the malfunction so that it cannot recur.

Successful implementation of projects

The BEUMER Group has implemented innovative solutions for users in a wide range of industries. One example is Clariant Produkte (Germany). The company, which has six production facilities in the Gersthofen industrial area in the district of Augsburg, manufactures and processes natural, semi-synthetic and synthetic waxes. To enable these to be stacked in bags on pallets gently, quickly and with high quality and accuracy, Clariant uses the BEUMER robotpac articulated arm robot. The robotpac is used for a totally different purpose by Gandl Natursteine GmbH, based in Inning am Ammersee. This well-known company, which processes and sells natural stone products, now supplies colored pebbles in bags rather than unpacked. The bags must be stacked on pallets particularly gently to maintain high quality. August Lücking GmbH & Co. KG, with headquarters in Paderborn, is one of Germany’s leading manufacturers of building materials. In order to pack clay bricks – so-called backing bricks – efficiently, the company replaced its ageing shrink hood system with the BEUMER stretch hood M. This multi-format packaging system can automatically change up to three different film formats as required. The building materials manufacturer therefore saves a considerable amount of time and also achieves much better load safety. The company Schwenk Putztechnik uses the newly developed double belt turning device to palletize sacks filled with building materials. These are only a few of the BEUMER Group’s many references. To keep these systems running throughout their lifetime, BEUMER Customer Support experts remain continuously available after installation and commissioning. Users can thus count on getting the best possible support.

Speaking the same language


BEUMER places high demands on its Customer Support employees. When establishing local contacts for users of BEUMER systems in other countries, it makes a great effort to use people who are from the same culture and speak the same language. “For this reason we don’t just send employees from Beckum to Africa or South-East Asia,” says Thimm. A good support team must understand the users. What is their situation? What are their goals and how do they want to grow? This requires a high degree of sensitivity. As a company with global operations, BEUMER is able to meet this challenge. And customers have noticed: BEUMER doesn’t just stop by for two days to carry out maintenance. It aims to provide long-term support.

“Because all of the user’s systems must work together, we not only apply ourselves to the development of our own products. We also focus on technically improving equipment manufactured by other companies,” explains Thimm. The technicians therefore refurbish machinery and modify control systems in third-party equipment. “Needless to say, we are familiar with our competitors and know how they differ,” he adds. In the case of products that are not in the BEUMER product range, Customer Support plays the role of a maintenance department. “We correct any defects that we find and perform the maintenance required by the supplier.”

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Stephanie Cornwall
Stephanie Cornwall