The company EHEIM GmbH & Co. KG, founded by the engineer Gunther Eheim in 1949, has developed in five decades to become a global market leader in the sector of aquaristics. The production facility of today’s EHEIM GmbH in Deizisau near Stuttgart is continually being modernised and extended. The plant now has production equipment of the most modern design and a completely automated internal logistics system.
When the expanding company needed additional working space in 2014 for the extension of its production activities, the required area was provided by building an extra floor onto a two-storey production building. In the context of that project H+H was assigned the task of integrating the newly provided production areas into the company’s automated material flow system.
The components are transported through the plant automatically in lattice-box pallets. For this, a complex system of conveyors and handling equipment as well as buffer positions is required. The planned conversions first of all made it necessary to modify the conveyor system on every level.
The newly provided areas on the upper, third floor serve as an intermediate store for lattice-box pallets. As a result of the altered working sequences, material transport operations between the various levels have become substantially more numerous. Consequently, an analysis of the material flows and the design and installation options derived from that were a core objective of this modernisation project.
To be transported are lattice-box pallets according to DIN 15155 (1,200 mm x 800 mm x 970 mm) or customer-specific pallet designs which largely correspond to the standard. The maximum weight of a loaded pallet is 300 kg and the unit is designed for two stacked lattice boxes (weighing a total of 600 kg).
The material flow analysis showed that in the context of the modified logistical concept two vertical conveyors for transporting the lattice boxes would have to be installed:
- Vertical conveyor 1 connects the ground floor to the upper, third floor. This aggregate has a working height of around 15 metres and moves between two transfer points. Its performance amounts to 35 working cycles per hour.
- Vertical conveyor 2 connects the three upper storeys. It has a working height of around 8.5 metres and three transfer points. Its performance is 60 working cycles per hour.
The two vertical conveyors are of single-column design and modern construction, and transmit the movements by way of two roller chains in each case. The motors are arranged at the bottom. The basic frames and lifting sledges are strong, welded structures in which the moving sledges are guided by means of Vulkollan rollers. The most important technical features can be summarised as follows:
- lifting speed 0.4 m/s
- lifting acceleration 0.25 m/s2
- with energy chain
- with chain slackness / chain breakage monitoring
- with safety grips
- with safety chains for maintenance purposes
- positioning by means of cable tension indicators
Integrated in the control system there are in each case locks for the access doors to the holding points (with a key log) and the automatic positioning system on each access level, with a corresponding display. The conveyor device is automatically switched. Since vertical conveyor 2 is set up on an intermediate deck, it is equipped with a safety grip.