Berger: High level of efficiency for small-scale series production

The automation of a small-scale series production line presents particular challenges in terms of the work process, logistics and availability. The Berger Group responded to this by introducing the Liebherr rotary loading system at the Wertach im Allgäu site (Germany).

With the RLS 800, workpieces of up to 800kg can be transported

With the RLS 800, workpieces of up to 800kg can be transported

The Berger Group was founded in 1955 and is the world's biggest manufacturer of precision lathe and milling parts. The components to be produced – complex components for innovative hydraulic units – have a great amount of diversity with their different bores and thread types. The company identified the potential that could offer a suitable automation solution and opted for the rotary loading system (RLS) from Liebherr for small-scale series production and single part manufacture.

More flexible thanks to rotary loading system

Tooling area RLS 800: Reliable and tough

Tooling area RLS 800: Reliable and tough

With 24 possible storage spaces, the RLS features a particularly high storage depth per area – with a low space requirement. In addition, the shape of the storage module enables docking of an additional processing centre. This means that the subcontractor is capable of meeting the requirements of the customers with greater flexibility, speed and cost effectiveness. Philipp Schneider, head of department at the Wertach branch, explains: “Our main focus was on the reduction of costly tooling times. On the machine side, it was about significant expansion of the tool magazine”. The tool magazine was thus extended as required from 80 to a total of 320 spaces. Furthermore, the aim was for the modular, adjustable (depending on requirement) rack columns were to facilitate even specific customer requirements at short notice. Thanks to its modular design, the automatic system can be adapted to the current production requirements in a very short time.

Product overview of Liebherr pallet handling systems

Trouble-free co-operation

Machine pallet with fixture ready for unloading

Machine pallet with fixture ready for unloading

Selected Liebherr specialists take on all of the tasks for implementation of the system. The fixture is configured universally so that it can be as flexible as possible. To connect with the existing solution, Liebherr works intensively with the milling machine manufacturer, Heckert.
For the employees, the introduction of the RLS is a milestone: many unnecessary routes are saved. The special design of the system enables users good access to automation. Moreover, the windows around the system in connection with the well laid out user interface provide an overview of the current status in and about automation. The intuitive controls make it possible to call up the desired functions by drag-and-drop comfortably. As with the entire system, the software also has a modular structure. New areas of application can therefore be realised by Liebherr reliably.

Tooling times markedly reduced

Changing over to the Liebherr rotary loading system for small-scale production has proven to be a good choice for Berger, particular in terms of efficiency, customer orientation and delivery capability. As such, the company is capable of responding to changes in demand directly, even at very short notice. Moreover, the tooling times are considerably reduced, the process chain is optimised and warehouse stock is reduced. The operator can utilise the running time of the machine for other tasks in production – the tooling costs are therefore not included in the machine's hourly rate. Even an unmanned third shift would be possible from this point without trouble. In practical terms, this has already proven its worth: The procurement costs will be recuperated in a relatively short time.