Functionality and efficiency were among the key objectives when planning the new painting tunnels of Meiller. Taking into account the available space and trolleys already in use at the plant, a decision was made to integrate a floor-bound conveyor system from Vollert Anlagenbau. The painting and drying systems are from SLF Oberflächentechnik in Greven-Reckenfeld. Meiller, a family-owned business based in Munich, has been manufacturing boxes for dump trucks and dumper trailers for 150 years and currently employs some 1,500 workers. Dumper boxes, for example, can weigh up to 8 tons and are anything but small. The conveyor system therefore had to be able to pull up to 50 tons per tunnel and integrate into the existing environment.
Each Item Can Be Moved Separately
"Our system meets all the requirements defined. By modifying the drawbars of the trolleys, we can inch items separately without manual intervention," explains Dieter Schnell, project manager at Vollert Anlagenbau. A special conveyor chain was designed for this purpose and takes up the drawbars automatically at any point along the track after the trolleys have been moved into place at the infeed station. The chain can run continuously, even when individual trolleys are being processed at the workstations. Pneumatic release stations in the base coat, colour coat, and drier areas coordinate where drawbars connect to and release from the chain. A controller senses when the next workstation is available so that each trolley can be moved independently of the others. The units move together when all workstations are manually cleared, at which point up to 50 tons must be shifted by the chain conveyors.
Vollert Anlagenbau specialises in moving heavy loads. In addition to floor-bound designs, engineers in Weinsberg develop above-floor conveyor systems for industrial-sized painting plants that can take up to 50-ton loads at one time. "We factor in available space and the size and weight of the workpieces before deciding which intralogistics solution is the most appropriate," explains Dieter Schnell. "Floor-bound transport systems such as the one used in Munich can also be designed in a circular or oval-type arrangement, where the radius is not limited by the system itself, but by the minimum turning radius of the trolleys."