After almost three decades of operation, it had become necessary to renovate and modernise the die store. In less than two weeks on site H+H Herrmann + Hieber renewed the complete control system, including warehouse management, and refurbished the mechanical systems from the ground up.
Hammerwerk Fridingen GmbH, which was founded in 1953, is now one of the most important die-forging companies in Germany. At its original plant in Fridingen and in the Czech Republic die-forged components and hot flow-moulded components are produced for every branch of industry, and if necessary finish-machined as well. At the plant in Fridingen more that 5,500 die sets have to be managed for this. Already in 1986 an automated, three-lane high-bay warehouse was built. Every day, the forming operation is supplied with up to 35 completely assembled die sets, only a day in advance of the forging. The availability of the warehouse is thus of the greatest importance.
Since it was found that after thirty years of operation the die store in Fridingen was becoming increasingly prone to malfunctions and the supply of spare parts was critical, a thorough refurbishment was needed.
The central interfaces with the store are four transfer stations next to one another, at which the dies to be stored are placed on pallets. These are called up from there, stocked and sent to the warehouse. The pallets are then transferred to a transverse transport trolley, which takes them into the store. From a transfer station the storage and retrieval machine takes up the pallets for chaotic storage at a free store bay, selected by the store management system on the basis of the optimum transport route.
The refurbishment concept aimed to reuse the existing mechanical equipment as much as possible. All the components were thoroughly inspected, all worn parts were renewed and the drive units of the mobile conveyor equipment were replaced with modern, frequency-regulated drives.
Newly installed features were chain conveyors at the warehouse entry and exit, protective barriers in the die engineering shop and controlled access doors for the entire plant. This led to the award of EC Certification for the modernised parts of the plant. Thus, safer operation is ensured for the future.
For the electrical part of the project, under the general directorship of H+H the company Aberle in Leingarten was given responsibility. The control system, the visualisation and the warehouse management system had to be completely renewed. The conveyor technology is now controlled by a S7 CPU. All the switch cabinets, the power supply and all the sensor systems in the warehouse were exchanged, and all the laser measurement systems and the laser data transmission via a profile bus connection were renewed.
The controls can optionally be operated manually – for which purpose mobile panels are provided – or semi-automatically or fully automatically.
For visualisation, system displays for the storage and retrieval machine, for the conversion bridges and for the conveyor technology and the transverse distribution trolley were installed. With their numerous options, the visualisation systems can be used for diagnostic purposes and are helpful for the correction of any faults found.
The existing warehouse management system was replaced completely by two new system modules, which communicate with one another.
- The new warehouse management system carries out all storage-relevant processes in an optimum manner, such as the generation of orders, their consignment and the stock management.
- The material flow system, operating in accordance with the “reporting point procedure”, serves to control the flow of goods in terms of optimised movement paths for the fully automated conveyor technology.
The plant, renovated as described, was able to start working again in August 2016 after a pause of only 2 weeks. As much of the work as possible was carried out during the one-week closure period, in several shifts including the weekends.
The results of this project demonstrate that with trained and qualified partners, results can be obtained even on a thirty-year-old plant made by a different manufacturer which ensure the greatest availability and compliance with current safety legislation.