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More flexibility, safety at work and productivity for medium-sized companies

Meeting the high order intake, protecting the health of the team and increasing job satisfaction all at once – this is made possible by a new automation solution with the KR QUANTEC. It can be found at the medium-sized company Robert Plersch Edelstahltechnik GmbH in Hawangen, Allgäu. Thomas Magnussen of integrator SHL AG presents it.

Sandra Hirsch
27 September 2023
Reading Time: 4 min.

At Robert Plersch Edelstahltechnik GmbH, everything is about sheet metal. Whether it's steel, stainless steel or aluminum, laser cutting, CNC edging or grinding, the approximately 100 employees rise to the challenge. For the final processing step, grinding the weld seams, the company was looking for active support and found it with the help of KUKA system partner SHL AG. "The customer said I have components, want to machine weld seams and can't find any employees," recalls Thomas Magnussen, Head of Sales & Marketing at SHL. "He needed an automation solution that could handle small batch sizes and process a wide range of products."

Wanted: Resilient robot for a wide range of jobs

The right robot was quickly found: a KR 120 from the KR QUANTEC series. With enough load-bearing capacity even for large components, it can both grind off weld seams and ensure immaculately smooth surfaces, as well as guide workpieces to machines that finish the sheet metal surfaces.

The KR 120 grinds off weld seams at Robert Plersch Edelstahltechnik GmbH.

What spoke in favor of the automation solution was the improved health protection for the team at Robert Plersch Edelstahltechnik GmbH. Magnussen explains: "In the past, carcinogenic dusts from stainless steel were a big issue in this industry. You often had to work with protective technology, personal protective equipment and sometimes respirators. Then there was the issue of mechanical stress. If you have to hold an angle grinder for eight hours a day, you run the risk of tendinitis, muscle strain and much more. " With robot-based solutions – with or without special extraction systems, depending on the design – the breathing air is clean, the work is safe without protective clothing, and ergonomic work is improved.

The KR QUANTEC series can be used very flexibly. With a payload of up to 300 kg, a reach of almost 4000 mm and high precision, the robots are all-rounders for many industrial applications.

Six months after order intake: the versatile robot gets going

After only six months, Georg Plersch was able to put the new system into operation. Currently, most of the orders are tool-guided. Magnussen explains: "An employee inserts each component into the robot cell. There it is fixed, for example with screw clamps. The KR QUANTEC measures it with an ultrasonic sensor to determine the tolerances that have to be compensated for during machining. Then the robot fetches the necessary surface processing instruments, from angle grinders to belt grinders, and processes the component." Alternatively, the KR QUANTEC can also cooperate with machine tools and belt grinding units, i.e., workpiece-guided. Magnussen explains: "In this case we use a sliding table system, in which an employee places components on a pallet that moves into the robotic cell. The KR QUANTEC now has grippers instead of tools. It takes each component, feeds it into a stationary belt sanding unit or a machine for surface finishing."

The KR QUANTEC is also attractive in price, can be used in a wide range of applications, and is a top performer in terms of technology and size.

Thomas Magnussen, Head of Sales & Marketing at SHL AG

Automation relieves the workforce

The employees of Robert Plersch Edelstahltechnik GmbH enjoy working with their new robot colleague. "They feel relieved," reports Thomas Magnussen. The KR QUANTEC takes over the physically heavy and health-damaging elements.

Gripping elements and placing them precisely: no problem for the KR QUANTEC.

But the robot also needs its human colleagues. For they take over both the quality controls and robot programming as well as the replacement of the abrasive. Magnussen is pleased that more and more medium-sized companies are opening themselves to such solutions. "Some people still think that robots are only suitable for large quantities and are extremely expensive," he says. "But especially in family businesses, many decision-makers are very solution-oriented. We then talk about how the customer can implement small batch sizes and how flexible the programming is so that the company's capacities can be planned much better in the future." Managing director Georg Plersch sees no alternative to automated grinding work in his company anyway: "Nobody wants to do that kind of work anymore."


Would you like to know more about the use of robotics in SMEs?

Success stories of small and medium-sized enterprises are waiting for you here. On our overview page you will also find a free white paper to download and much more helpful information.

About the author
Sandra Hirsch
Global Content Marketing Manager
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