- The PHS 10,000 delivers effective automation for small batch sizes
- Payload capacity of up to 13 tons
- Reduced motor size due to the pulley effect
Small-batch manufacturers are familiar with the dilemma: “When set-up and run times don’t harmonise well machine downtimes increase.” Added to that are distances covered during retooling, which entail considerable inputs of time and logistics efforts. Yet this problem can be solved by separating the set-up station and machine.
This set-up station is embedded in Liebherr’s proven PHS pallet handling system. Jobs can be set-up in this station while the machine is free to keep cutting parts. Stefan Jehle, Head of Automation Systems Sales, exaggerates the principle involved as follows: “Humans need to take control back from machines. At the moment it is often the machines, as conductors of the orchestra, that dictate the tempo. A smart automation solution enables the process to determine the rhythm at which any machine operates to capacity. The conductor’s rostrum is at the set-up station, where the human operator waves the baton.”
In reality things then look like this: by using a resource management system an employee can check whether all the required tools, software and other resources are on-site at a stand-alone set-up station hours before actual machining. Other workpieces can be machined during this provisioning and preparation process. If enough workpieces have been prepared and placed in the intermediary storage facility, even unmanned shifts can be worked. An automation system featuring a stand-alone set-up station can be intelligently controlled, meaning two machines operating more efficiently can do the work of three. “Backed up by a smart cell control system, which
handles job planning and resource management, unit costs can be reduced by more than 20 percent“, Stefan Jehle reasons.
Safe, Smple Logistics for Heavy-Duty Applications
From a heavy-duty application’s perspective, this system is very likely to be of particular interest to manufacturers. Liebherr has now created a hardware category (the PHS 10,000) with a payload capacity of up to 13 tons, and even 16 tons are an option for special-purpose applications. Demand for such systems is increasing worldwide, especially in this segment, in particular power generation using wind turbines, diesel / gas turbines or hydro plants and pumps for the crude oil or gas industry. The components used in these systems are getting increasingly heavier and larger. Automation is therefore a must-have.
Employing an automation system also dramatically simplifies the logistics involved in handling very large components, such as those just mentioned. Heavy pallets with jigs or equipment that in some cases weigh over ten tons have to be conveyed to and from the appropriate machine. That requires complex logistics in a conventional manufacturing environment that doesn’t feature a pallet handling system. If all components are integrated into such a system, transfer routes using cranes and forklifts can be dispensed with. The system therefore ensures operator / user safety and component logistics reliability. Furthermore, given their complexity, many workpieces require several different clamping operations, which complicate the logistics tasks that have to be performed. The same benefits can also be applied to the workpieces. If the system is supplemented by workpiece logistics, the same applies here: workpieces are conveyed safely and reliably from A to B, operators are exposed to fewer hazards and the logistics space required is less.
Proven Technology From the Liebherr Group
“In terms of heavy-duty applications in particular, Liebherr systems are able to draw on skills and know-how available within the Liebherr Group as a whole“, Stefan Jehle explains. Cable technology and specific components represent a core Liebherr Group skill that has been proven over the course of many years and are rapidly available. “These systems are extremely compact and energy-efficient“, the automation expert acknowledges.
The tensile forces of the cables in particular facilitate efficient carriage hoist system operation by applying the pulley effect. The size of the motor can be drastically reduced compared to chain drives, for example, meaning a very reliable and hard-wearing hoist system featuring standard motors can be used. Synchronisation of both drive ends is handled by gantry-operation Siemens servo motors in combination with an independent odometer system. “This therefore delivers synchronous hoist motor operation as well as automatically offsetting any cable elongation”, Jehle explains.Source Liebherr-Verzahntechnik GmbH