Healthy, satisfied employees, increased efficiency, flexibility, and sustainability - regardless of the industry, the reasons are always the same that give cause to a higher degree of automation in handling tasks. German Best Handling Technology was able to achieve all of this for its customer, a leading logistics service provider, with a suction cup equipped Kenos® area gripper.
As a manufacturer of manually guided handling systems, the optimal design of workplaces is the goal and the daily business of Best Handling Technoolgy GmbH in Heuchelheim near Gießen. The palletizing of heavy cardboard boxes of different sizes, with and without ribbons, poses great challenges for the load handling equipment and usually means that off-the-shelf solutions are not suitable. That is why Best Handling Technology turned to Piab for a large order for 32 individual workstations at a customer in the logistics sector to jointly develop a customer-specific solution.
Flexibility and security thanks to proven vacuum technology
The rope balancer systems are attached to knuckle boom cranes and H-crane systems. The gripper of the handling system is based on the proven KENOS® technology with integrated COAX® Midi ejectors. In this case, two area grippers were installed for each workstation, which can be easily and quickly adapted to different box sizes using an adjustment mechanism. Each KENOS® area gripper is equipped with 16 durable BX52P DURAFLEX® suction cups specially designed for cardboard handling in a customer-specific grid, instead of the usual technical foam, which would be stressed by different movements in several directions while handling heavy cardboard boxes.
“In addition to the lower wear of the suction cups, the safety aspect plays a major role, especially when using hand manipulators. Even worn DURAFLEX® suction cups achieve a sufficient seal, even on permeable materials such as cardboard, ensuring accident-free handling. In addition, defective suction cups are easy to identify from the outside and can be individually exchanged directly on the gripper, which reduces downtimes to a minimum. ”Cedric Ries, Sales Manager Automation at Piab, explains the selection of the suction cups.
piSAVE® Sense flow valves are integrated directly into the fittings of the individual suction cups, which ensure that suction cups that are not covered by the carton to be lifted are closed to enable the product to be picked up. The use of such check valves saves energy because it allows the use of smaller vacuum pumps.
In addition to the adjustable attachment of the two KENOS® grippers to each hand-held manipulator, this ensures a high level of flexibility, which allows the customer's employee to pick up boxes of different sizes from a roller conveyor, label and scan them, and place them in outer boxes or on pallets - completely without changing tools. An integrated load hook can be folded out for unpacked, heavy machine parts.
Lowest possible compressed air consumption with COAX® vacuum technology and piSAVE® Optimize
A piSAVE® Optimize valve is integrated into the control of the gripper units. This is a vacuum-controlled proportional compressed air valve. It regulates the inlet pressure down so far that only the set vacuum level is reached and kept constant. The vacuum ejector is supplied with maximum feed pressure until the vacuum level has built up. This reduces the compressed air consumption by another 30 to 50 percent. The investment has a positive impact within the first year due to a corresponding reduction in electricity costs. No new compressors are required, and the existing compressors require less maintenance. This makes this solution so energy efficient and contributes accordingly to the sustainability of the process.
In addition, the Piab vacuum technology, COAX®, integrated into the KENOS® gripper, minimizes energy consumption and offers a safe and quick hold due to the high initial vacuum flow. COAX® ejectors are up to twice as fast as other ejectors and deliver three times more volume flow than conventional vacuum ejectors with identical air consumption. The ejectors can deliver high performance even when the supply pressure is low or fluctuating. This has been proven in independent comparative tests at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU in Dresden. These have shown that the Piab ejectors require significantly less compressed air than ejectors from other manufacturers to achieve the same performance. Since they have no moving parts, they are also practically maintenance-free. Their use accordingly reduces the costs for the provision of compressed air as well as downtimes for maintenance intervals and thus the overall production costs.
Winfried Kaiser, Managing Director of Best Handling Technology: “For our customer, in addition to the flexibility and ergonomic operation of the system, energy efficiency was also a decisive criterion for placing the order. Thanks to the outstanding vacuum technology and the special piSAVE® Optimize valves, we were able to convince with the low use of compressed air in our solution."
Ergonomic and user-friendly - all elements at the right height
The simple operation, the high lifting and lowering speed and the flexibility of the grippers to handle a wide variety of carton sizes without changing tools enable an optimal working speed with a large variety of products. “Despite the large lift height range, the operator does not have to reach too high or too deep. He can easily operate all controls without letting go of the twist grip control unit, ”adds Winfried Kaiser. "Before our lifting aids were installed, the boxes were repackaged or palletized manually, with the corresponding risk of injury and the associated risk of sick time off of staff."
Cooperation in the interests of the customer
“As a manufacturer of individual lifting solutions for our customers, we have found a partner in Piab who, like us, is ready to design solutions outside of the standard. We were also given excellent support with sample grippers for testing and technical ideas for solving challenges that went beyond the actual Piab products, ”says Winfried Kaiser, describing the collaboration between his Best Handling Technology team and the Piab experts.
The Kenos® KVG gripper from Piab in detail
The KVG series provides a flexible solution for handling products with different shapes and dimensions. Thanks to the double technology available (check valves and flow restrictors), many applications in the industrial sector can be covered. The KENOS® KVG gripping system can be equipped with an integrated vacuum generation or a separate vacuum generation by pump or side channel blowers. The integrated vacuum generator is a modular, multi-stage COAX® ejector, which also offers easy maintenance after installation and the possibility of being scaled as required. The suction mat of the KVG gripping system is made of technical foam (an FDA-compliant mat is also available), with different hole spacings and in different thicknesses. The KVG120C and KVG60C can be equipped with suction cups from the extensive Piab range. Typical applications are palletizing and handling in the packaging, metal, glass, and wood industries.
The BX52P DURAFLEX® suction cups used are particularly suitable for uneven and porous surfaces such as cardboard. They have bellows and a lip in different degrees of hardness. This makes them strong and stable as well as soft and flexible. DURAFLEX® suction cups are made from a specially developed polyurethane. This material combines the elasticity of rubber with the durability of plastic. They work without leaving marks and a filter disc in the suction cup protects the vacuum system from contamination.
About Best Handling Technology
Best Handling Technology offers customer-specific solutions for a wide variety of handling tasks, from commissioning and setting up of machines to positioning sensitive individual parts and their assembly. Safety, effectiveness and ergonomics are the maxims that are in the foreground when implementing the solutions. In the interfaces between automation and manual handling, Best Handling Technology offers different solutions for packaging, loading, unloading and relocating products. The use of the latest technologies in the field of "material handling" allows Best Handling Technology to enable its customers and their employees to handle loads safely and effortlessly. Their mission is to provide attractive customer-specific solutions for safe, ergonomic, and effective work processes.