World of Vacuum Technology

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Nov 15, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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World of Vacuum Technology

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Press Release

August

2010


Energy and Efficiency in a Double
-
Pack


Two vacuum lifting devices ensure secure and gentle handling of plastic sheets,
streamlining material flow while manufacturing housings for photovoltaic production
equipment.



As an intern
ational growth market, the photovoltaic industry is characterized by its dynamic development. But
increasing competitive pressure is not just pushing cell and module manufacturers towards streamlining.
Plant constructors also need to pull out all the stops

when it comes to productivity, flexibility and quality in
order to stay competitive for the long term. For decades, Gebr. Schmid GmbH + Co. in the Black Forest has
been the world leader in equipment technology for the production of circuit boards, flat pa
nel displays and
photovoltaic components. Besides brand new, high
-
capacity production plants, Schmid has also invested in
a suitable material flow environment. The goal was not only to fully exploit the potential of the high
-
tech
machines (thus increasing
their efficiency), but also to free the employees of physically strenuous side tasks.


The task: handle heavy plastic sheets with ease and lay them down right on target

Schmid uses high
-
strength plastic sheets made from polypropylene for the housings of it
s photovoltaic
production systems. In the past, handling the sheets that measure up to 3,000

x

2,000

x

15

mm and weigh
up to 100

kg always created problems. First, handling these unwieldy sheets required up to six people, some
of whom had to be brought fro
m other workplaces. Second, it was difficult to load the sheets onto the
machines due to the accuracy required when laying the sheets down. Accuracy is necessary because the
table for the machining tools is equipped with a grid system so that the plastic s
heets can be vacuum
clamped for precise machining. Time and again, when laying the sheets down, the sealing cable would slip
out of its groove, so that the vacuum required for clamping could not be established. This brought with it
having to make complex,
manual adjustments while the machine was idle.


To avoid this, Schmid decided to invest in a complete material flow solution. J. Schmalz GmbH, a
manufacturer of vacuum technology with whom several projects had already been successfully carried out,
was cho
sen as the partner. The exemplary complete solution involves loading a panel saw and subsequently
loading a CNC lathe/milling machine. That is why two different handling solutions were used for Schmid. To
load the saw, a VacuMaster Basic 500
-
90
-
8
-
2400 vacu
um lifting device with a 300

kg load capacity has been
installed on a one
-
beam crane system with aluminum crane rails. The sheets are first removed in a
horizontal position from drawers in an automatic, high
-
rack storage area by using the vacuum lifting de
vice.
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They are then transported by the one
-
beam crane system to the saw and laid down on the machining table.
After sawing, the blanks are removed from the table. For further internal transport, the blanks must be
rotated by 90° and set down upright on a t
rolley. To do this, the vacuum lifting device is equipped with an
electronically operated swiveling unit, which allows the sheets to be swiveled continuously and without jolting
at the push of a button. To ensure a secure grip on the sheets and blanks, the

2,400

mm
-
long load beam is
equipped with four 750

mm
-
long, lateral cross arms, to which a total of eight SPU suction plates with jointed
mountings are fitted. The lifting device is guided by the smooth one
-
beam crane system, which makes a
large
-
scale work

area of over 100

m² available. Within this area, the unmilled boards and blanks can be
handled with complete freedom and flexibility by just one person.


The solution: two vacuum lifting devices from the VacuMaster modular component system

Likewise, the h
andling solution for loading the CNC lathe/milling machine also involves the use of a vacuum
lifting device from the VacuMaster Basic series with the electric 90° swiveling feature. The modular
construction system allows the VacuMaster Basic 250
-
90
-
4
-
1600
used here to be adapted for the smaller
blanks. The device can handle a load of up to 200

kg and combines a 1,600

mm
-
long beam with two lateral
cross arms, each 750

mm long. While the same suction plates as on the first lifting device are used, the
number
was reduced to four, given the smaller dimensions and weights of the blanks. Also new is the
combination with a slewing column crane featuring a 6,000

mm
-
long aluminum boom, from which the lifting
device is suspended. The VacuMaster takes the blanks standi
ng from the trolley, swivels them and lays them
down horizontally on the machining table. After machining, the operator removes the finished parts, once
again using the VacuMaster, and hands them on for further use in assembly.


Both the large and small li
fting devices use electric vacuum pumps to generate the vacuum, with a suction
volume of 8

m³ and 4

m³ per hour respectively. When it comes to safety, no compromises are made: large
vacuum reservoirs and the large suction pad surfaces work together with qu
ick
-
action non
-
return valves to
prevent the load from dropping, even if the power fails. A further advantage of the reservoir is the lightning
-
fast pick
-
up response for repeated lifting processes. Using the vacuum lifting device is comfortable and safe
wit
h the ergonomically formed operator handle, on which the pendant controller for the chain hoist can be
easily placed. Because strict attention was paid to the lightweight construction of the crane system used,
moving and positioning the sheets is consequen
tly very smooth.


Summary: work made easier with a safety bonus

How has the investment in the pair of lifting devices for Schmid paid off? Work has been made a lot less
strenuous for the employees, thanks to the easier handling. Personnel costs have been r
educed to the
extent that the work capacity can now be better used, since the staff now
has

much more time for other
valuable tasks. Unproductive downtime could be reduced heavily by cutting out the task of making
positioning corrections and faults when cr
eating the clamping vacuum. The success reached with the
integrated material flow and handling solution is summarized with typical Swabian reserve by Karl
-
Heinz
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Gaiser, departmental manager for vessel production at Schmid: "Transporting sheets was costly a
nd
required up to six people. Now it is much easier with the lifting devices from Schmalz!"


(
6
.
446

characters incl. spaces
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Images
:


Image

1:

VacuMaster Basic 500 vacuum lifting device removing a
plastic sheet horizontally from the storage shelf in the

high
-
rack storage area


Image

2:

Swiveling the heavy plastic sheets 90° and setting the
sheets down upright on a transport trolley using the
VacuMaster Basic 250 vacuum lifting device



Image

3:

The second vacuum lifting device


a VacuMaster Basic
50
0


lifting a blank that has been stored upright



Image

4:

The VacuMaster Basic 250 laying down a blank precisely
and in a horizontal position on the table for the
CNC
lathe/milling machine


Images
: J. Schmalz GmbH

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The

company

J. Schmalz GmbH has its
headquarters in Glatten in Germany’s Black Forest and is one of the world’s
leading suppliers of vacuum technology. Its portfolio includes high
-
quality products and services in the
areas of automation, handling and clamping technology. Founded in 1910, the

company has a long
tradition of offering innovative and efficient vacuum solutions to customers from various industries. In
2009, the company had a total of 570 employees at the headquarters in Glatten an
d its 16 overseas
subsidiaries.


Editing and Text

E
dgar Grundler,
freelance technical journalist


Contact for questions

J. Schmalz GmbH

Marketing
Communications

Aacher Str. 29,
D
-
72293 Glatten

Phone

+
49

(0)
7443 2403
-
506

Fax


+
49

(0)
7443 2403
-
9506

presse@schmalz.de

ww
w.schmalz.com


Further press releases are available on our web
-
site

http://us.schmalz.com/aktuelles/presse/



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