Hacker selected for the automation of batch size 1 production operations

Published on : Thursday, May 28, 2015

HäckerHäcker, a company based in Upper Westphalia, is the third largest kitchen manufacturer in Germany. Distinction is the daily bread and butter of this production sector. They hold the competitive edge wins this race.

Häcker is a satisfied Schelling customer so it is no coincidence that this successful cutting tool and plant manufacturer from Austria has been selected for the automation of batch size 1 production operations. The multiple disadvantages of the milling solution and in-house experience also made it clear that cutting was the way forward and that milling was now relegated to the past.


Compact concentric system
For this project, Schelling favoured complete redevelopment of the tried and tested concentric concept. Two objectives were paramount here: Firstly, the need to maximize utilization of the existing cut-to-size plant and secondly, to make maximum use of the high-quality panels used as primary material. All of that, needless to say, while maintaining production operations at a brisk pace.

The result, the heart of which can be admired in action at the LIGNA trade fair in Hanover, is surprisingly compact, quiet, energy-efficient and relatively dust-free.


Combined with existing plant
The challenge was to supplement the existing panel divider unit comprising of a partially automated cut-to-size plant and to transform it with the new installation into a fully-automated plant for batch size 1 manufacture, all integrated into the overall size and totality of the production facility.

Batch size 1 means: No panel packages – instead, only individual panels are cut to size. Every part is different because every fitted kitchen is different, in terms of dimensions, layout, surface designs etc. However, when you only cut one part at a time, offcuts are a big topic. Optimisation of cutting plans and offcut debris handling play a decisive role in line speed and optimum use of panels, which translates straight into plant profitability. Two concepts contribute quite surprising efficiency: Firstly, further development of the concentric function that facilitates second, third, fourth and yet more cuts while also providing for a dedicated and automated flat surface storage area just for offcuts.


High level of material utilization
The new concentric concept is only equipped with one cutting line. However, this is in operation almost continuously. In the first level of machining, longitudinal or head cuts can be made. Then the cut parts are rotated in a changeover portal and their direction of travel is reversed. These returning parts are then cut in a transverse plane during the second stage of machining. The part is then either in final condition, meaning it then travels on to further processing, or it is cut a third and even a fourth time. It is these third and fourth cuts that play a decisive role in achieving maximum usage of the primary material panels.
However, it is not every time that complete primary panels are needed for current orders. What then should happen to the viable offcuts? Large offcuts are returned rapidly to the flat surface storage area across two bridges with portals. The flat surface storage area at Häcker Küchen measures an impressive 55 metres in length. Mind you, when well over 200 panels are required for each shift, that is the size of storage area required. The new Schelling ls 1 however, by virtue of its compact design, has a more modest appetite for material.


Surface storage area for offcut management
The surface storage area is used almost exclusively for offcut panels. However, it is equipped with a primary panel stack from an existing high-bay storage area that automatically pre-groups them on site and location into mixed stacks to speed up further processing operations. This surface storage area also supplies the new Schelling is 1, as well as the existing Schelling cut-to-size plant and an existing cut-to-size saw from Schelling.
Small but nonetheless viable off cut sections are uniquely labelled and make their way automatically to a dedicated space in a manual storage area and are rapidly scheduled back in by the software and can then thanks to the clearly laid out storage area, be directed back into the process quickly. As you would expect from Schelling, any off cuts of no further commercial value that emerge from the sawing line are dispatched quickly through a central flap and are disposed of efficiently.


Plus point for cutting technology
In contrast to other technologies, the Schelling is 1 proves yet again that sawing technology ‘cuts the mustard’ better, in every conceivable respect. Starting with cutting quality the circular saw principle delivers an exceptionally stable and therefore precise composition to technical layout, preventing inaccuracies right from the start. Of at least equal importance is the relatively low level of dust and shavings generated in the cutting process.
The sawblade is only 4 mm thick, so it does not produce much cutting waste and correspondingly low amounts of sawdust and shavings, all of which are very successfully controlled by specially designed sawblade geometries. Compactly dimensioned suction installations around Pressure Beam & Co. keep the air almost entirely free of dust. Energy consumption is very modest and noise levels are no more than moderate. However, the most important factor is that the often valuable surfaces of the panels do not get damaged at any point by this system.


Live at the LIGNA trade fair
The new Schelling batch size 1 plant is 1 is taking everything into account, an example of consistently applied further development. It is more compact, while having more capacity and greater flexibility. Right from the machining process stage, the panels and components are turned into their correct positions by powerful positioning components, saving time and resources. Many fundamental and detailed improvements deliver greater performance and precision, examples being the use of brush tables instead of rollers. In addition, the plant can be equipped with various loading and unloading devices, as well as with a vast array of further processing options. Last but not least, the plant can be operated almost entirely autonomously, i.e. without operating staff. To find out about everything else it can do, come along to LIGNA from 11 – 15 May in Hanover and see for yourselves!

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