Herborner pumps stand for durability and quality. Many of the pumps only require their first spare part after 50 years - and even then the replacement of the entire pump is generally not profitable. The specialists from the Siegerland region in Germany still manufacture and deliver parts for the older models. “A Herborner lasts, the market knows this and we are proud of this fact”, states Klaus Tollerian, Head of Production at Herborner Pumpentechnik.

The pumps are used in swimming pools, sewage plants, industry, ships and all other areas where water should flow. Whether it is in Germany’s biggest theme park, Europapark in Rust, the Aquaventure Water Park in Dubai, the Delphinarium on Tenerife or on one of the big cruise ships, “Herborner” pumps are used all over the world. Founded in 1874, the family-run company became a niche provider for pumps and is always one step ahead of the competition in terms of technology. This is currently reflected in the latest pump generation “herborner.neo”, where aggressive media such as salt water cannot enter the system and attak vital parts thanks to its full coating.

Finally found the solution at Liebherr after a long search

At the end of the last millennium the question arose in production about how best to handle the increasing variation diversity. A new machining center from Heckert ensured fast machining, but the retooling took a lot of time. The search for an automation solution proved to be lengthy and only really gathered momentum years later when a development partner was found with Liebherr-Verzahntechnik GmbH. In Kempten, Liebherr planned an automation solution with pallet handling system for a Heckert machine. From this original PHS which was initially intended as an internal solution came a design for Herboner Pumpentechnik. “In Kempten there is the number 0 so to speak and in our company the number 1 of the now established PHS”, describes Klaus Tollerian.

A certain risk was associated with the collaboration with Liebherr, which Klaus Tollerian was prepared to take: “The concept was so simple and so good that it could only work. During the entire planning stage the focus was always on feasibility. Realistic limits were clearly defined. On top of that, a friendly and close relationship quickly developed as we were able to clarify many issues in advance in numerous meetings and discussions.”

Such measures are quite simple with the flexible PHS. We are very satisfied with the options this system offers us. Flexible, error-free, and low maintenance - that’s Liebherr.

Klaus Tollerian, Head of Production at Herborner Pumpentechnik

Challenging installation

The remaining doubts disappeared at EMO 2007, where the first PHS 1500 was showcased before it started production in Herborn. The installation proved to be very challenging owing to the tightness of space. “We had to bring in the parts through roof hatches using a crane because the ceiling height was only six meters,” remembers Stefan Jehle from the Automation Systems product segment at Liebherr-Verzahntechnik GmbH, who assisted with the implementation of the project from the outset. Machine manufacturer Heckert, Siemens (control for warehouse vehicle), and Soflex (cell control) were on board to guarantee the integration of software and machine.

“We advanced piece by piece and only integrated one, then another machining center. Since then the system has been running smoothly”, highlights Klaus Tollerian. Stefan Jehle adds: “Today we sell this system as PHS 1500 Pro. There are a few new functions such as different set-up station variants. But that marked the launch of the successful PHS series.”

Automation grows alongside

At Herborner Pumpentechnik the availability of the system is practically at 100 percent. “If there is a stoppage, then it is generally because of an operating error. The wear is very low”, reports the production manager. In 2011 the system was extended by nine stations to a total of 54 and an unloading station was integrated. A new machining center was integrated in 2015. “The delivery times have halved in the last ten years. Delivery reliability is extremely important for a niche provider like ourselves. With automation we can introduce an unmanned shift and improve our delivery reliability considerably. A new machining center with turntable and larger working area was the logical next step.” Klaus Tollerian decided on a HEC 800 millturning machine which could also machine the large parts. Having said that it received a smaller table as optional equipment so that it can also continue to process the clamping fixtures of the smaller parts. “Thanks to the flexibility of the PHS it is possible to change machine without any problems. With this investment we are well positioned in the long term in production.”

Flexible, error-free, and low maintenance

The next enhancement is already planned: a third machining center and an additional 18 storage magazines. “We haven’t set a date yet, because several measures are pending in our premises. But the step will come” adds Klaus Tollerian looking to the future. Perhaps he will also exchange the smaller machine or take it out of the production line temporarily for a retrofit. “Such measures are quite simple with the flexible PHS. We are very satisfied with the options this system offers us. Flexible, error-free, and low maintenance - that’s Liebherr.”

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