A few days ago, one of the most powerful laser cutting centers in the Netherlands went into operation. For this purpose, stainless steel specialist Hoekman Roestvaststaal BV has invested in a 30 kW laser cutting machine from Eagle. In order to utilize the full capacity of the fast machine, a storage and logistics solution from Remmert with AGVs ensures a constant flow of materials.
Since its foundation in 1986, the family-owned company Hoekman, based in Nieuwleusen, the Netherlands, has specialized in the production of sheet metal parts and workpieces made of stainless steel. The scope of services includes the whole range of metal processing as well as engineering services. With a new laser cutting center including generous sheet metal storage, Hoekman wants to position itself even more broadly for contract manufacturing of steel and stainless steel products. The core of the new production unit is the Eagle “iNspire” laser cutting machine. The 30 kW machine suggests high speeds and low cost per workpiece.
Plate change in less than 90 seconds
“Even the fastest laser cutting machine in the world is only as fast as the material flow before and after it,” says Jan Schwiertz, who is Remmert’s sales manager for the Benelux region. He worked out the logistics concept for the new laser center with those responsible at Hoekman. Remmert is equipping the center with a storage and automation solution that ensures fully automated and continuous operation of the laser. “We use our ‘LaserFLEX’ automation line with two gantry slides that travel on parallel planes above the shuttle table, thus connecting the laser to the sheet storage system. While the lower carriage takes the cut sheets from the shuttle table, the upper carriage can pick up the new sheet from the connected sheet storage system. In this way, we create a fast plate change in less than 90 seconds,” explains Jan Schwiertz.
The sheet metal warehouse, which is automated with a stacker crane and also supplied by Remmert, has large storage capacities for crisis-proof stocking of the stainless steel sheets. Residual plates can also be stored again in an automated process.
AGV automates shuttle between laser and sortation
At Hoekman, sorting of the cut workpieces takes place away from the laser center. Shuttle traffic between the laser center and the sorting station is automated via a driverless transport system (AGV). The Remmert AGV has been specially developed for the transport of 3015 sheet metal pallets. “In contrast to shuttle transport with forklifts, the AGV can be used in three-shift operation at low personnel costs. Since we can use it omnidirectionally, i.e. in all directions, the space required for maneuvering the large sheets or the distances is significantly smaller,” says Schwiertz.
“We make material flow”: With this statement, the material handling expert Remmert addresses the metalworking industry as well as the steel and metal trade. The technology company is the recognized expert for intelligent automation and intralogistics solutions as well as long goods and sheet metal storage systems. With standardized modular modules, the entire material and information flow is perfectly adapted to the customer’s requirements. Remmert systems including smart control and software modules enable productivity increases in the intralogistics process from day one. Thanks to their vendor independence and modularity, the systems can be flexibly adapted to changing requirements. Users receive a complete solution for the entire material flow in the periphery of their processing machines that is both investment- and future-proof.