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Reliability in the right cycle during transport through series production

The assembly of a modern automobile with combustion engine requires up to 10,000 components, which are produced in highly automated, clocked production lines with a large number of machining stations and a wide variety of manufacturing processes. In order to ensure the high economic efficiency of these production plants, which involve investments in the millions, the reliable transport of the components from station to station at the right cycle is of particular importance.

NTN Antriebstechnik GmbH in Gardelegen (Saxony-Anhalt), a subsidiary of the Japanese NTN Corporation, is a worldwide leading producer of drive shafts for the automotive industry and supplier for well-known German car manufacturers. In connection with the installation of two new production lines, NTN commissioned HÖRMANN Services GmbH to link the individual machining stations. In this project, ambitious goals had to be realised: a line cycle of 36 seconds and an output of 800 components per shift.

HÖRMANN Automationsservices GmbH created the system layout, the mechanical design of the linking as well as the automation concept including the electrical planning. At the heart of the linking system are the hinged chain conveyors, the loading gantries/stations, which transport workpieces with a maximum weight of 2.2 kilograms. A particular challenge in the project planning was the integration of a tempering furnace for the heat treatment of the workpieces and the guarantee of a travel path in production by means of a lifting/lowering station.

The installation of the mechanical components, all protective devices and the electrical installation were carried out by HÖRMANN Industrieservice GmbH, a sister company of HÖRMANN Automationsservices GmbH.

The automation technology and the software developed in-house ensure a precisely clocked control of the entire transport from station to station with high availability, whereby each production line has a separate control system with a high number of protective circuits. Numerous product-related services, such as the inspection of electrical equipment in accordance with DGUV 3, training of operating and maintenance personnel, commissioning of the system, support during the start of production, as well as the usual documentation, operating instructions and maintenance schedules complete the scope of services provided by HÖRMANN Services. After several changes in the range of parts, the successful commissioning of the entire production plant took place at the beginning of this year 2020.

"In this project, we were able to demonstrate the entire capabilities of HÖRMANN Services: turnkey automated production systems from a single source," says Matthias Piofczyk, Managing Director of HÖRMANN Automationsservice GmbH.

Particularly in times of disruptive change in the automotive industry, against the background of increasingly demanding automation requirements and the digital networking of machines, systems and entire production processes (Industry 4.0), the services of the HÖRMANN Services business division are more in demand than ever. The focus is on high-quality, technically sophisticated services across the entire service portfolio, whereby proximity to the customer is a decisive criterion for this holistic approach.