Optimum handling of workpieces when loading and unloading machines

QUADRUS Metalltechnik GmbH, one of the largest metal and sheet metal processing companies in the northern Oberpfalz region, focuses on high process efficiency through automation and ergonomics. This recipe for success ensures increasing sales and optimal utilization of machines and equipment. In addition to automated high-rack storage and optimized production lines, the contract manufacturer for laser, stamped, bent and formed parts also relies on the advantages of handling solutions with vacuum technology from AERO-LIFT.

Thus, the ergonomics of the workstations was also a priority when designing the production lines for the further processing of metal blanks. In addition to the consistent integration of automated systems, the loading and unloading of unloading and bending machines was also optimized. The sheet metal and metal blanks fed in handy batch sizes at waist level were previously still lifted by hand, mostly by strong men's arms, onto the feed tables of the deburring machine. This often required two employees on each side of the machine, as the blanks weighing up to 80 kg were also often bulky and unwieldy. In addition to the physical strain and the inevitable decrease in cycle rates, this machine occupation was often planning and resource-intensive due to the double team and the restriction to male employees. These unfavorable conditions not only affected the calculability of the work process, but above all the motivation of the employees and thus formed a constant source of problems in the production process.

Clever handling process

In view of the required performance and the ideas of the employees on these production lines, larger feed tables were constructed in the in-house metal workshop, which made it easier to place and feed larger parts into the deburring machines. The strenuous task of transferring workpieces from the transport frame to the presentation tables could then be realized by using VUSS tube lifters on mobile slewing cranes. This special AERO-LIFT solution for the handling of differently segmented cut and formed parts now enables the easy transfer of workpieces weighing up to 80 kg. The particular highlight of the design is shown to its best advantage when you see how a woman, whose maximum load is limited to 10 - 15 kg when lifting manually by any health prevention measure depending on her age, lifts very heavy and unwieldy shaped parts onto the machine in rapid cycles.


After a few moves, you will have learned how to use the hose lifter and how to operate it with two hands. With every new transport operation, the steps that have to be taken with the VUSS hose lifters become more and more "flesh and blood". Watching the ladies at work, their movements, in front of the humming sound of the machines, seem like a well studied dance. Almost playfully, they move large laser cuts, some of them with massive incisions, through the air and place them almost gently at their destination. Asked in an interview about their personal experience with the handling technology, both users beam about the possibility of working at a workplace that does not actually meet their physical requirements and enthusiastically report about the speed and ergonomics with which they can perform their daily tasks.


The incredibly high degree of flexibility of the gripper technology of the VUSS tube lifter should also be used for other work stations. So QUADRUS decided to operate the handling solution on a mobile slewing crane. The column of the slewing crane is bolted to a solid base plate with lugs for transport with a forklift truck and, with its three metre long jib, enables a very large working area. The mobile combination of slewing crane and VUSS tube lifter can be moved to other work stations with great flexibility. Thus, for example, the mobile handling systems are operated on new plants in order to test the further setup of the production line experimentally. The mobile units are also used for the handling of bent parts and support the semi-automatic bending process.


The continuous optimisation of the work processes also increases the motivation of the employees of QUADRUS Metalltechnik GmbH. Johann Maier, Managing Director at QUADRUS, is therefore pleased to report on the investment and the resulting effective benefits in production and increased efficiency.

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Making heavy work easier

The prefabricated sheet metal and metal parts roll out of the high rack storage area and are loaded onto picking stations by means of floor conveyor. The colleagues of QUADRUS Metalltechnik GmbH move around in the 10,000 sqm hall 9 in an amazingly quiet environment. Of course, you can hear the humming and buzzing of the machines everywhere, but it is still easy to move and talk without ear protection. Veiko Hille, project and process manager at QUADRUS, tells us that one of the central findings was the effect of the optimisations for the employees in the plant. "The working conditions have a significant influence on the work result. Therefore, their continuous improvement is part of our philosophy and an important component of QUADRUS' health management", says Hille.

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