MercedesBenz, BMW Group, Daimler Truck and Porsche – the reference list of All in metal GmbH (a.i.m.) in Markgröningen near Stuttgart reads like a “Who’s Who” of the hip automotive scene. For example, a.i.m. has been a successful Tier 1 supplier, primarily to the German automotive industry, for 21 years with around 600 employees.
Well-known premium and luxury car manufacturers rely on a.i.m., especially when it comes to “Body in White”, i.e. body-in-white parts that are assembled as components of a car body using one or more different techniques such as welding, riveting, or bonding. In doing so, a.i.m. masters all relevant processes and focuses increasingly on laser welding, spot welding and bonding.
A.i.m. Has made a name for itself with services in forming technology, joining technology and toolmaking as a partner for the entire metal construction industry and is regarded here as a reliable supplier of complete assemblies. The company, headquartered in Pockau-Lengefeld, is also represented in the electromobility, construction, and window and door industries.
In November 2021, a new production hall was put into operation, in which the most modern welding robots are used. “For a major customer in the automotive industry, we now manufacture larger components here with up to 60 different individual parts just-in-time, which means day and night and also on weekends. We have thus moved up into a new league as a direct supplier to the automotive industry. This strengthens our competitive position enormously,” says Jan Janßen, Team Leader Project Management at a.i.m..
On around 2,000 square meters of the 6,500-square-meter hall, Teka uses a special AirTech solution to ensure constantly purified room air, from which around 11 employees benefit per shift. “The topic of health protection is enormously important to us, especially against the backdrop of securing a skilled workforce,” says Janßen.
After external planning at ATM, A.i.m. chose Teka in the tender. “Through Kratschmeyer, as the subcontractor commissioned by the general contractor, a.i.m. sought out the project. contacted us at the end of 2020,” recalls Oleg Seikan, Teka field service employee. In addition, Teka had been known at a.i.m. headquarters for many years.
Large plant as a special solution
During the personal consultation, the extraordinary dimension of the project quickly became apparent. Thus, the special challenge was to find a powerful and safe extraction and filter solution for 58 welding robots, which weld and glue up to 1,000 components/day in 3-shift operation. “By offering our plants as a quasi modular system, we are able to respond flexibly to specific customer requirements,” explains Teka Managing Director Simon Telöken.
“A decentralized solution was out of the question from the start, so our focus quickly fell on a large central exhaust system,” adds Oleg Seikan. In close coordination with a.i.m., a large-scale plant with 110 KW output was developed and realized on the basis of the AirTech.
The larger filter housings of the Teka AirTech systems, which offer a total of 864 square meters of filter surface, are the basis of this special solution. The two filter modules were each equipped with a 55 kW fan and installed on a pedestal to form an overall system in a space-saving manner.
Likewise, the plant was connected to the heat recovery system on the roof. “Our new production hall is the Group’s new flagship in terms of design and energy efficiency. We can reuse the waste heat from all production steps as well as the extraction,” Janßen explains with satisfaction. The electricity required for this comes during the day from a PV system mounted on the roof.
In addition, the system solution has two automatic dosing devices for filter aids, as welding is very oily. The addition of precoat powder removes moisture from the smoke and protects the surface of the cartridges against sticking. In this way, the service life of the filter cartridges can be extended. For area-wide extraction at the various workstations, 11 generously dimensioned extraction hoods of up to 12 square meters were installed.
The entire project execution took place from September to November 2021. “There were many interfaces in the project. The technical advice from TEKA was excellent, so that a direct award would also have been conceivable,” explains the project manager.
Since commissioning, the plant has been running smoothly. It can be flexibly adapted to changing production capacities in the future.
And this is how the overall system works:
The extraction hoods are installed above the welding robots and collect the corresponding welding fumes. The raw air enters the two filter chambers of the plant via the piping. Here, the particulate pollutants are deposited on the surface of the filter cartridges. The filter cartridges are cleaned fully automatically by compressed air at the required intervals. The particles adhering to the cartridges are loosened by the blast of compressed air and enter two disposal containers placed underneath the platform.
After filtration, the purified air is passed through a heat exchanger. This found a place on the roof of the new hall and discharges the purified air to the environment after heat transfer. The fresh air drawn in countercurrently is heated as required and fed back into the production process via displacement outlets.
As a safety device, the system has a particle sensor on the clean air side. This results in permanent safety monitoring of the system, for example against filter breakthroughs. In the event of an error message, the fan is automatically switched off. At the same time, the system control gives a visual and acoustic signal to warn the user.