Winkel: line section lifters
A drive and control technology sector company that specialises in systems integration has supplied a major German car manufacturer with a line system for its battery production line. To transport the batteries, cells and cell blocks between the different levels of the plant, the automation specialist relies on around 40 belt lifters from Winkel GmbH. The systems were ready for operation in only six weeks.
Together with a general contractor, the integrator set up line section systems for electric vehicle battery production. Robust, reliable and safe lifting systems in various designs were required to move the batteries, battery cells and cell blocks between the different levels of the assembly lines – and this is why the integrator’s project team turned to Winkel GmbH in Illingen near Stuttgart. The two companies have been working together successfully on a regular basis for many years now. Backed by its extensive experience in the fast and smooth implementation of large-scale projects like this, Winkel supplied the ideal solutions for the customer. “Around 40 different versions of lifters were required, and they all had to be installed quickly,” says Ing. Giorgio Paganelli Azza, the Winkel Italy General Manager. “The vertical lifters had to be up and running in just six weeks.”
Focus on safety and functionality
Projects like this make intensive and very varied demands on the lifters and their performances. “At the start of the production line, the components to be transported weigh around 25 kilograms – but as production progresses, the weight of the components gets much greater. The end products can reach weights of 700 to 900 kilograms,” says Paganelli Azza. “We supplied uniform lifter designs in light, medium and heavy versions, which we flexibly adapted to the conveyor technology, the products and the loads,” he explains.
Despite the tight schedule, the characteristics and requirements of an automotive lifter jack were never ignored. Winkel uses plastic-coated, lubricant-free rollers and linear guides from its in-house production, ensuring a long and low-maintenance service life for use in multi-shift operation. Winkel also chose a flexible concept for all its lifters. This enabled the Winkel designers to perfectly match the various lifters’ support frames to the required position on the belt and adapt them to the universal carriage. The carriages of the lifters were equipped with several adjustable rollers to guarantee smooth and play-free running. In terms of the crucial aspect of safety, Winkel relied on safety brakes, classic catch devices and rod blocking systems.
The right lifter for every requirement
Various belt lifters, designed with single belts and winding mandrel, double belts and counterweight, aluminium profiles and robust steel U or double-T profiles, were used for the various loads. This enabled the designers to create the right solution for every requirement. The belt lifters carry loads of 1kN to 20 kN. The nominal paths range from 500 to 4,000 millimetres. Due to the cycle times, high-speed travel is required on several of these paths. Acceleration of up to three metres per second squared and speeds of up to three metres per second are possible.
A cooperative partnership
Even if the technical requirements for the components differ, what users expect from the solutions is always the same:
“Our partner and its customers expected us to deliver flexible, durable and safe high-quality solutions quickly and on time,” says Paganelli Azza and that’s exactly what we achieved with our lifters”. The users and the project partner were extremely satisfied with the safety and reliability of the systems – and they were also impressed by the uncomplicated, smooth and highly flexible cooperation with Winkel. “Other joint projects such as vertical telescoping units, linear axes and tilting units are already in progress, but I can’t reveal any details about them yet,” says Paganelli Azza.