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Complex Lifting Solution Helps Georg Fischer Automotive with Challenging Production Application

Manufacturing | Automotive Industry | Hoisting & Lifting Equipment | Power & Motion Technology | by STAHL CraneSystems | March, 15 2016


Each year, Georg Fischer Automotive manufactures more than 35,000 tons of castings from nodular cast iron at its site in Herzogenburg, Austria. The company specializes in crankshafts, exhaust manifolds, turbocharger housings, integral manifolds, brake carriers and differential housings for passenger cars and utility vehicles. The cast iron for the parts is made from raw materials in precisely defined proportions based on “recipes” from the foundry.  

These recipes are produced in the raw materials mixing plant where you’ll find 25 bunker areas filled with heaps of metal and scrap piled meters high. The plant also has containers filled with specific quantities of different materials which, when ready, are transported to the smelting furnace via a rail system. To help move these materials throughout the facility, the company required a modern charging crane. This is where Austrian CraneSystems and STAHL CraneSystems teamed up to provide a fast, high-tech crane that could operate both manually and fully automatic.

Similar to a chef mixing ingredients, the crane operator needs to collect different types of metals based on the foundry’s recipe. The composition needed is sent to him by the control system and shown on the display in his crane cab. For this, the crane controller communicates with the foundry’s charging system by Profibus link.

In manual operation, the crane operator drives to one of the numbered bunkers and picks up the bulk material by magnet – a maximum of five tons per lifting movement. The display shows information on the amount of material that has been picked up and the amount still missing from the particular bunker. The crane operator can release excessive quantities of material from the magnet in fine steps with the touch of a button, thereby allowing for exact proportioning of his ingredients.

The casting ingredients are then unloaded into a material container. The two containers for this process are located in a frame underneath the crane bridge – which is directly where the crane is located. The design of this system is complex, taking into considering the 60 meter long hall, numerous storage bunkers and the required charging rate of 15 t/h. Therefore, a robust solution, including cranes and cabs that can travel at high speeds, is required.

An SH wire rope hoist from STAHL CraneSystems featuring a high FEM classification of 3m (ISO M6) serves as hoist for these exacting demands. The crane bridge can be accelerated smoothly up to 63 m/min by four drives and the cross-travel speed is 40 m/min. The lifting speed 20 m/min.

The crane takes over the night shift
Apart from manual operation during the day, the crane is also equipped for automatic operation at night. In this mode, the crane automatically drives to the raw material bunkers required by the foundry’s recipe, picks up the required quantities and fills the material containers as specified. Depending on the composition, it takes up to a maximum of 20 minutes to fill a container in continuous automatic mode.

The heart of the crane is a double-girder trolley with special headroom equipped with STAHL CraneSystems’ SH 6025 wire rope hoist with true vertical lift. A calibratable weighing system on the trolley frame of the crane is used for exact determination of the load weight. The exact position of the crane and travel carriage must be known for automatic operation. The position is therefore determined redundantly by multiple safe absolute angle encoders to monitor the long travel, cross travel and rope drum and by an additional laser-based distance measuring system between the crane bridge and hall wall. STAHL CraneSystems played in a critical role in the development and construction of this demanding crane technology.  

A strong partnership
Not even 12 months passed between placement of the order and successful final acceptance, including automatic operation. Austrian CraneSystems had a mere two weeks to dismantle the old system and install the new crane. With its innovative special crane, Austrian CraneSystems and STAHL CraneSystems have once again shown that Austria is capable of handling tricky, challenging projects and can implement demanding, high-tech solutions quickly and in compliance with all applicable standards.

Metallic bulk materials of different grades and composition are stored in 25 separate bunkers – the ingredients for new castings.

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Thanks to the compact dimensions of the trolley and wire rope hoist, the new crane system could be integrated into the existing hall and still offer the required lifting height.

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