The key to progress from Beumer

The key to progress from Beumer

The trend towards automation is also making great strides in intra-logistics. Users want their machines and systems to work more efficiently and safely while at the same time relieving employees of tiring, monotonous and physically heavy work. The BEUMER Group develops customised system solutions for conveying and loading, palletising and packaging, and sortation and distribution systems. The company equips these systems with efficient automation solutions depending on the customers’ requirements.

“Intra-logistics is in a state of change. This is due to the demographic development but also to the increasing complexity of processes. Automation engineering in particular is therefore continuously encouraged,” says Franz-Joseph Kleigrewe, Automation Manager with the BEUMER Group. In this way, manual operations can be optimised and expedient synergies formed between man and machine. Kleigrewe is convinced that “automation engineering is the key to technical development and further progress”.

The BEUMER Group has formed teams in the individual group companies and at the Beckum site which specialise in automation solutions. “Our objective is to accelerate development cycles and to continuously raise the high standard which we have evolved as a result of our know-how,” says Kleigrewe. “This is the only way we can provide the right solution for our customers and look after them in an optimum manner.”

When it comes to development, three factors affect one another: customer orientation, innovation and standardisation. If customer orientation is to the fore, this usually results in individually matched solutions which can only be used for other projects in a few cases. If, on the other hand, the focus is on innovation, this gives rise to new opportunities, but also to risks. The new approach can provide competitive advantages for new projects.

On the other hand, there is a risk of higher costs and failure to complete on time. Without innovative projects there is no progress. It is therefore necessary to undertake such projects on a regular basis while taking into account the risks. This is quite different when it comes to standard solutions. These have stood the test of time. The customer is provided with a cost-effective and reliably operating system which he can also put into operation in a very short time.

Coordinated systems

“Users no longer want just one system; they want a combination of several systems which are optimally matched to one another,” says Kleigrewe, recognizing the market requirements. Examples of these include innovative filling, packaging and palletizing solutions. The BEUMER Group’s product range also includes the paletpac high-performance layer palletizer for palletizing bags filled with bulk materials. This flexible unit stacks bags on pallets of all common sizes with accuracy and stability. The user can quickly and easily set the required parameters.

The BEUMER paletpac is equipped with a bar, clamp or double-belt turning device depending on the product requirements. These bring the filled bags quickly and gently into the required position while retaining their shape. BEUMER also offers the robotpac, a space-saving, fully automatic articulated robot which is able to perform complex palletizing and depalletizing tasks reliably and efficiently.

The pallets are then transported to the BEUMER stretch hood high-performance packaging machine. This packages the stacked bags quickly and reliably. Further systems, such as metal detectors, weighing machines and label stations, are often integrated into the packaging line.

“The challenge for the future lies in the integration of these systems,” explains Kleigrewe. He is convinced that the dovetailing of processes will continue to increase.

The BEUMER Group undertakes the electrical installation as well as the integration of machine and system controls. BEUMER’s automation specialists also ensure that information is meaningfully transmitted between the different operating levels – for example by means of ERP and MES systems.

Common standards make for short project durations

“The initial situation is often that the larger the system, for example baggage conveyor systems in airports which are several kilometers long and have many branches, the more control systems are used, and these have to be matched to one another,” explains Kleigrewe. For example, four control systems have been developed at BEUMER over the years.

“In order to be more flexible in design and also to enable commissioning to be carried out more quickly, our objective with all developments is to use a common drive concept as well as common machine and system controls,” says Kleigrewe. “We provide conveyor elements and interface definitions for horizontal and vertical communication straight out of the box.”

For rapid development phases, the BEUMER Group has created a common software platform for all company employees. Platform management, product management and project management are all carried out using this platform. All staff involved in the project are provided with a common working environment. The uniform basis makes working more efficient and reduces project durations.

Fully automatic baggage conveying

BEUMER has implemented successful automated solutions in all business segments. With the BEUMER autover, the intra-logistics specialist has developed a rail-mounted, computer-controlled and fully automatic baggage conveyor and distribution system. This consists of a rail system and individual vehicles, the so-called BEUMER autoca. A central computer feeds orders to each vehicle. The vehicle’s own on-board controller determines the ideal route.

The BEUMER autoca runs to a loading station, picks up the item of baggage and, at its destination, either passes it to a belt conveyor or ejects it at a particular point. In this way, every item of baggage reaches its intended destination quickly and gently. Control is by means of the BEUMER logistics software BeSS. This consists of various coordinated software modules. As well as the control and administration of the system, modules are also incorporated for the functionalities of a baggage management system, the Sort Allocation Computer (SAC).

“In conveyor technology, we use our Motion Control System for large conveyor systems,” says Kleigrewe. This matches the drive, control and safety equipment to one another. With this system, the belt tensions on horizontal conveyors with drive drums at the front and rear and with intermediate drives can be significantly reduced, as the converter technology enables the same drive torques to be achieved. “The Motion Control system also prevents sudden torque changes, as the PLC controller provides dynamic torque limitation,” explains Kleigrewe. If the mains supply fails, a controlled braking system continues to ensure safe operation.

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Stephanie Cornwall
Stephanie Cornwall