Dynamic and flexible destacking machine

Gerhardi Alutechnik GmbH & Co KG

When Gerhardi Alutechnik in Lüdenscheid, Westphalia, installed a second extrusion line with 33 MN extrusion load, the section packing process was also reorganised. As part of the logistics automation H+H Herrmann + Hieber supplied a new destacking unit which is noted for its dynamic performance and flexibility.


As part of the project as a whole, the objective to be achieved at Gerhardi included a conjoint, largely automated section packing system for the two extrusion lines. For this, two packing stations are provided.

The packing stations are ergonomically optimised. In this, the aim is to ensure that the sections are available individually, ready to be gripped, in the correct position and at the right time. For that purpose an automatic destacking machine is provided.

The sections taken from their racks are placed in layers on conveyor belts which transport them to the packing stations. The intermediate spacer layers, now free, are stacked in a device that carries them back down to the lower level.

The destacking machine must on the one hand deal with racks of varying width in any sequence. Furthermore, depending on the packing station intended it must position the layers on two separate conveyor belts. In the racks the sections can be stacked with intermediate layers or in combs – and in this respect too the destacker works with complete flexibility.

The new stacker design is noteworthy in that (except for the gripper drive system) no pneumatic means are used. Instead, electrically regulated servomotors are provided. This design saves weight; in fact, the destacker weighs only about 50 percent of a comparable, conventional unit. In turn, this enables the level of dynamics required for the destacking performance needed.

The investment in an automated packing system of this type pays off in many ways. For one thing, damage during transport is almost completely avoided. Furthermore, the productivity of the packing stations is greater.

The example of the destacking machine described here shows that when one cannot relay on tried and tested plant components, new and tailor-made solutions have to be developed. In such cases the long experience of H+H acquired from numerous projects for automating the transport of long articles is a great advantage.