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Innovation at Prefbet: New KUKA palletizing robot improves concrete production  

Innovation is the driving force behind development. This is known to the owners of Prefbet, one of the leading manufacturers of concrete products, who with the support of Lin-Tech engineers have installed a modern, automated production line for silicate products. The heart of this project is a KUKA palletizing robot.

Prefbet understands customer needs and expands its production capabilities with a KUKA palletizer 

The concrete production company Prefbet has been operating since 1992 and is one of Poland’s leading manufacturers of cellular concrete, ready-mixed concrete and concrete products. The company continues its growth by initiating silicate brick manufacturing. "The silicate brick which we have started to manufacture is part of our efforts to expand our capabilities. We received inquiries about silicate bricks for multi-family buildings, because silicate bricks have very good acoustic properties. It is very important for us to be able to meet the requirements of our customers", explains Pawel Mieczkowski, leading energy engineer at Prefbet.

A new production line for silicate products with a new KUKA palletizing robot 

The objectives were clear from the outset: the silicate brick from Prefbet was to be distinguished by uncompromising acoustic properties while maintaining the highest possible compressive strength. The start of its production meant that the company had to create a complete production line. From the very beginning the management of Prefbet preferred modern solutions, assuming advanced automation of the process. The pioneering approach of the undertaking was appreciated by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PAED), thanks to which the company received a grant to start automated production of silicate products.

The KUKA palletizing robot KR 700 PA is ideal for palletizing silicate bricks

The best choice for palletizing: the KR 700 PA KUKA robot

The establishment of a new production line in the Prefbet’s plant was undertaken by the Lin-Tech team of experienced engineers who have been specializing in comprehensive construction of industrial machinery and equipment for years. One of the stands to be prepared was a robotized stand for palletizing the manufactured silicate products. Due to the specificity of the product, the Lin-Tech engineers opted for a powerful robot, the KR 700 PA. Three key aspects determined its selection: range, load capacity and productivity. 

In discussion with the KUKA specialists we communicated right from the start what the robot will be used for. We made a decision with regard to the gripper weight and the productivity of the stand.

Rafał Kromólski, customer consultant at Lin-Tech

A special gripper for palletizing silicate products

The development of the gripper for the KUKA palletizing robot was one of the main challenges for the Lin-Tech team during the project. The gripper had to be compatible with the KUKA palletizer and at the same time correspond to the characteristics of the heavy and fragile Prefbet silicate products. A separate issue was the preparation of the control system. The palletizing stand had to be integrated into the entire production line and at the same time be multifunctional and prepared for handling different products.

The KUKA palletizing robot KR 700 PA is the perfect choice for automated palletizing

KUKA palletizer is an innovation in the concrete industry

"As far as I know, Prefbet is the first company in this branch of industry that decided to use the KUKA palletizing robot in such a scope. We undertook a difficult task, but due to the fact we are very experienced as Lin-Tech, we have decided to develop this application. In the end our experience worked out", says Rafał Kromólski. The cooperation between Prefbet and Lin-Tech had an impressive pace from the beginning. The contract to create a production line for silicate products was signed in August 2018. A little more than a year later, it was officially inaugurated, although the entire line had already been completed before.

The grand inauguration of the line took place on 24 September. The robot worked already at that time and a number of dignitaries could see it with their own eyes. I must admit that the palletizing performed by the KUKA robot is impressive.

Paweł Mieczkowski, leading energy engineer at Prefbet

Robots offer highest efficiency and precision

"Until recently, robots were treated like machines from Star Wars, inaccessible, expensive, very advanced and out of reach of a normal, wealthy company. But all this is changing. The robots are working very efficiently. The cost of robot-based palletizing systems is comparable to that of pallet stackers and other solutions. Regardless of whether we are dealing with palletizing or any other application, robots offer the highest efficiency and precision, and most importantly, they are capable of performing the most difficult, laborious tasks", underlines Paweł Mieczkowski.

KUKA palletizing robots work very efficiently and offer highest precision

KUKA palletizing robots make human workers' life easier

 “It is hard to imagine bricks weighing several kilograms being carried by one or two people. We make no secret of the fact that we try to get away from such tasks. Of course, people work, the number of employees is constantly increasing, not decreasing, but it is related to the fact that we are constantly developing, introducing new products and creating new plants. A robot does not lay anyone off. Its task is to make work easier, and the fact that robots work best in an ordinary factory in eastern Poland proves that our country has changed. It's just progress”, emphasizes Pawel Mieczkowski.

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