Automatic store at the core of the company

Spanish tube producer relies on Demag process cranes

(PresseBox) ( Wetter(Ruhr), )
Demag Cranes & Components has installed the third automatic crane-served store for the Spanish tube manufacturer Aratubo S.A. The scope of the new project also includes modification of the existing two crane control systems as well as the implementation of a higher-level warehouse management computer, which is now used for central control of the processes in the three stores.

The investment in a further store became necessary because production was started at a further tube facility at the location in the Basque town of Vitoria. The three automatic crane-served storage facilities operated by Aratubo S. A. have a total capacity of 13,000 tonnes and are arranged around the production facility like a horseshoe. This means that the manufactured materials only have to travel a short distance to enter storage.

The new Store No. 3 was equipped with an open-winch crane with a load capacity of 3 t and a span of 25.51 m.

When it receives them from production, the automatic crane picks up the bundles of tubes, which measure up to eight metres in length and weigh up to 1.3 t, with a telescoping magnet spreader and quickly lifts them up to the highest hook position. By fixing the load handling attachment into position by means of a pin and recess arrangement, the automatic crane is able to transport the long material at high speed without any load sway. It travels between the individual points in the tube store at speeds of up to 100 m /min.

Without interrupting the production operation, both of the existing crane control systems were modified to bring them up to date with the new store. The new warehouse management system was then implemented to control the three crane-served stores.

Innovative solution

To store tubes with smaller diameters, the tube manufacturer Aratubo developed a special solution together with its suppliers. By bundling the product with square sections of wood to stabilise them, the tubes form rectangular packages that can be picked up direct by the crane as soon as they are fed into the store. The warehouse management system controls the crane motions with centimetre accuracy to ensure that the product is stacked safely and reliably. Every package of tubes is stacked with a 20 centimetre overhang at the end. The control system also specifies the position of the telescopic magnet spreader to ensure that the bundles of tubes are picked up precisely between the wooden sections.

To achieve higher turnover rates, the cranes can also handle the bundles of tubes in pairs. To do this, the individual magnets on the spreader are turned so that they can pick up two bundles simultaneously.

Aratubo demands very high availability by the process cranes, since they operate around the clock, 345 days per year. For this reason, 24-hour on-call standby, which is provided from the service centre in Bilbao, was agreed from the very beginning with the Spanish subsidiary of Demag Cranes & Components. Second-level service is provided by the software specialists using remote maintenance tools from the location in Wetter, Germany.
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