Modernization at Max Bögl in Bachhausen

Technologien und Beratung für den Betonbau - B.T. innovation

Modernization at Max Bögl in Bachhausen

With an annual turnover of around 1.6 billion euros and around 6,000 highly qualified employees, Max Bögl is one of the world’s largest companies in the construction industry. More than 35 locations, production facilities and representative offices in Germany and abroad open up new markets for pioneering products and underpin the company’s international focus. The track girder of the Chinese magnetic levitation train, the new Lia Manulio national stadium in Bucharest or the newly developed hybrid towers for wind turbines with hub heights of over 140 meters are just a few examples of how innovative strength and engineering skills have made Max Bögl known and recognized beyond Germany’s borders. With six of its own precast plants, Max Bögl is one of the leading manufacturers of precast elements in Germany. Important investments in new production facilities and technologies are crucial to playing the trump card of cost-effective production to a high quality standard. Ein weiterer Schritt zur Steigerung der Wertschöpfung ist die Inbetriebnahme einer modernen Paletten-Umlaufanlage am Standort Bachhausen. Max Bögl relies on the planning and consulting expertise of the Magdeburg-based company B.T. innovation.

Since the takeover of the Bachhausen precast plant in 2000, Max Bögl has continuously expanded and modernized the site in order to achieve the greatest possible synergy effects through optimal cooperation between all the precast plants in the group. Mainly geared towards residential and multi-storey residential construction, up to 350,000 m² of floor slabs are produced in Bachhausen every year. Hinzu kommen 15.000 bis 20.000 m³ Wandelemente, Fertigteil Treppen und Balkone, verschiedene Sonderbauteile, aber auch Stabelemente, wie Stützen und Binder für den Industrie- und Gewerbebau mit bis zu 20 Tonnen.

In order to secure the Bachhausen site in the long term and increase production capacity in the area of double and solid walls, the company group decided to invest in a modern, automated production facility. B.T. innovation was commissioned with the planning due to its many years of positive experience and progressive approach. One particular challenge was to use the existing building (Fig. 1). In this respect, it was important to find a technically practicable and economically viable solution as well as a particularly compact yet flexible concept that could be accommodated in existing buildings. After regular coordination between the client and the planner, a concept was developed that also ensures the mixed operation of double walls, solid walls, sandwich elements or other flat precast elements with relatively homogeneous cycle times.

Around one and a half years after the initial planning stages, the first conversion work began in March 2011 while the existing production facilities remained in operation. The dismantling of the equipment for special component production and the installation of the machine technology took around nine months. The new circulation system went into operation in mid-December 2011. The aim is to achieve an average production capacity of 45,000 m² of double walls plus 90,000 m² of solid elements over the next few years.

Description of the circulation system

The production process begins at the shuttering station with a cleaned pallet. As the Bachhausen site produces almost exclusively customer-specific precast elements with a series factor of one and the element thicknesses and dimensions are constantly changing, heavy steel formwork and an expensive formwork robot were deliberately avoided. Instead, the station is equipped with a laser projection system and an extremely fast and ergonomic shuttering manipulator (Fig. 2). This manipulator, which is otherwise often used in the automotive industry, is equally suitable for U-profile formwork for double-wall production and for solid part formwork based on the MultiForm® formwork support system from B.T. innovation
(Figure 3). “We liked the idea of the formwork manipulator right from the start,” explains Andreas Schmid, the manager with overall responsibility for the Bachhausen site. “A robot can never achieve 100% with our product mix. There will always be a certain proportion that has to be formed manually and individually. Our task was to find a solution to specifically relieve and support the employee here.” Production Manager Karl Rupp adds: ‘B.T. innovation had a prototype built  without further ado. And when we experienced in practice how easily and quickly formwork handling works with the manipulator, we realised that we had found the right and economical alternative to the robot.’

The prefabricated formwork is quickly and precisely aligned with the laser lines in just a few simple steps. The same applies to window and door frames and the corresponding formwork. The electrical sockets are also already installed at this station. After the formwork has been erected, the pallet moves into a line with three processing and reinforcement stations arranged one behind the other. Here, formwork is completed as required and the prefabricated reinforcements are inserted. The logistics for formwork and reinforcement are also based on an idea from the automotive industry. “Just in sequence” prefabricated formwork and reinforcements are provided outside the circulation system at exactly the right time and in the right order. For this reason, cycle time fluctuations in circulation are very low despite the very different degrees of difficulty of formwork and reinforcement.

If, contrary to expectations, a formwork or reinforcement does not fit, is incomplete or is delivered too late, the pallet concerned can be discharged into an alternative station arranged at the front. The pallet then moves to the concreting station (Fig. 4). There, a half-width bridge concrete spreader with ten frequency-controlled discharge augers works either fully automatically or in manual mode. This is fed from the central mixing plant via a bucket conveyor and a 3 m³ pre-silo. The concrete transfer position also serves as a washing area. This is not only generously dimensioned, but is also equipped with a residual concrete recycling system with a washing capacity of up to 2 m²/h. Compression takes place with vibratory compressors. Horizontal shaking in the x and y directions compacts double walls and solid elements up to 200 mm thick with virtually no noise emission.

A heated curing chamber with 4 rack towers and a total of 40 usable compartments is available for curing. The lower shelf compartments are designed both as passages and buffers. This decouples the movements of the pallet lift from the normal circulation cycle. The lift is floor-operated. Thanks to its flat lifting beam and hydraulic lifting device, it does not require a pit (Fig. 5).
The lift carries out the following different actions via product-specific work plans, controlled by the master computer:

  • Freshly concreted pallets are picked up by the lift and stored in a free curing chamber shelf compartment until the preset minimum dwell time is reached.
  • When a double-wall first shell has reached the predefined hardening time, the corresponding time shell is sent into circulation. As soon as it enters the concreting area, the lift removes the first shell and prepares it for turning. Due to the limited space available, a particularly slimline version of the automatic turning machine was used here. (Figures 6 and 7).
  • Empty double-wall first shell pallets are immediately made available for circulation again if required or alternatively stored temporarily in the curing chamber.
  • After a short dwell time in the curing chamber, solid or sandwich elements whose surfaces need to be finely smoothed travel along the exit line to three post-processing stations arranged one behind the other. The surface treatment takes place there with an electric trowel, which can be easily moved across all three stations on a monorail with chain hoist.
  • Hardened elements leave the curing chamber in the direction of the demolding stations. Here too, the system has three pallet spaces arranged one behind the other. The second position is equipped with a large storage table for double wall formwork, which serves both as a buffer and feed for formwork cleaning and return transport to the formwork area. At the third station, solid wall formwork is preferably removed and
    The formwork is either transported to the shuttering area for reuse or to the formwork construction area for preparation. Of course, the demolding stations also have a formwork manipulator (Fig. 8).

For lifting, the pallet travels transversely to a tilting station with a hydraulically adjustable stop beam. There, the prefabricated parts are either removed horizontally and transported to the warehouse on an outfeed trolley or the elements are tilted to around 80° and preferably loaded into internal loader racks (Fig. 9).

The cleared pallet then travels on to a stationary pallet cleaner. It is cleaned in two steps. First, a scraper bar removes coarse dirt, followed by fine cleaning using a double brush roller. A dust extraction system ensures that the dust load in the air is kept as low as possible. After cleaning, the empty and clean pallet is ready for the next production cycle. ‘In addition to the right technology, we paid particular attention to work ergonomics and occupational safety,’ explains Klaus Schneiders, Head of the Consulting division at B.T. innovation and the responsible planner. “The dust extraction system on the pallet cleaner, an electrically operated climbing aid at the tilting station, the two shuttering manipulators and the comparatively quiet shaking stations are just a few examples of this.” Max Bögl has also broken new ground in terms of process control. A higher-level ERP system manages all finished part orders. Production scheduling is carried out across divisions and locations so that the available resources can always be optimally planned and utilized. With the new, highly flexible circulation system for double, sandwich and solid elements, Max Bögl has set the course for the future at its Bachhausen site. The significant increase in capacity and efficiency helps to realise demanding customer requirements in a high-quality, flexible and satisfactory manner.

Companies involved

B.T. innovation GmbH from Magdeburg was responsible for the overall concept, planning and coordination. The company Avermann Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG from Osnabrück supplied the circulation pallets and most of the machine technology. The circulation control and visualization are provided by SAA GmbH from Vienna. The equipment for recycling residual concrete was supplied by Ecofrog GmbH from Altlussheim. The laser projection system, the formwork for double walls and solid elements, as well as the modern formwork manipulators were also part of B.T. innovation’s scope of services.

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