Robotic handling of heavy parts in steel production

Six KUKA robots of type KR 1000 titan provide new flexibility in production at Mannstaedt GmbH. Heavy steel beams are stacked for onward transportation.

Automated stacking in accordance with customer requirements

Mannstaedt GmbH focuses on the manufacture of hot-rolled special steel profiles. Special profiles are tailor-made steel bars for use in the manufacture of finished products for a diverse range of industries – for example, in the automotive industry, fork lift truck production or port construction. Mannstaedt profiles are individual designs manufactured according to customer requirements.

For the final step in the production process, the company was in search of an automation solution. Six KUKA robots of type KR 1000 titan meanwhile perform automated stacking of the special profiles which now measure up to 26 meters in length, as opposed to 16 meters in the past.

Precise handling of very heavy steel beams weighing up to 2.5 tonnes

The heavy-duty robots from KUKA offer not only a very high payload capacity, but also high repeatability even over greater distances.

Twice the speed: KUKA heavy-duty robots stack special profiles in steel production

Due to the length of the special profiles – up to 26 meters – the robots must also be able to transport loads of about 2.5 tonnes. The result is a process that to date remains unique worldwide. A total of six robots are positioned next to one another in the automated system. In the first work step, the special profiles are delivered to the robots’ workspace by a conveyor. The robots grip the bars by means of magnetic grippers and stack them compactly on a stacking unit for onward transportation. Depending on the length of the bars, a corresponding number of robots perform the stacking. In this way, it is also possible for the robots to carry out the stacking in groups of three, thus enabling work to be performed twice as fast. Once the specified number of bars have been set down, the stack is moved forward by the next conveyor ready for shipment to the customer.
Robotic handling: six KUKA robots of type KR 1000 titan compactly stack special profiles.
The demands on the robots are clearly defined: movement of heavy payloads, long reach and resistance to the tough external conditions in the production shop. The KUKA heavy-duty robot of type KR 1000 titan meets all these specifications. With a payload capacity of 1000 kilograms and a reach of over 3.2 meters, it can pack a powerful punch. It was specifically designed for handling engine blocks, steel sections or components for ships. As a result, distances of up to 6.5 meters can be spanned quickly and precisely.

Through the changeover, we aimed to secure big advantages in terms of flexibility. Thanks to the longer special profiles, we can position ourselves well in the market for specialty steel products.

Marcus Haas, Plant Manager for Hydraulics, Cranes, Energy and Infrastructure at Mannstaedt GmbH

KUKA heavy-duty robot boosts flexibility 

The changeover has enabled Mannstaedt GmbH to increase production flexibility considerably and to extend its range of products. The success has prompted the company to initiate further automation projects in the downstream production process.

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