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ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN VACUUM STACKERS

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Biele Group is pioneer in the manufacture of stacking lines for the automotive sector, incorporating Start-Stop Stackers. Over the last few years, the corporate group has supplied a great number of stackers for specific applications in response to the highest standards of quality required by the automobile manufacturers OEM, TIER 1 and Metal Service Centers.

Biele Group has specialized in the design and manufacture of stackers aimed at the automotive sector. Biele Group stackers respond to the evolution of the sector and are tailored to their needs, in terms of types of components processed and production processes, as well as new materials used.

In 2005 Biele Group launches the first Vacuum Stacker for one of the world’s biggest Aluminium producer. This stacker had already been provided with a rotary lobe compressor turbine system instead of other traditional systems with a higher energy consumption. The implementation of a piece tracking system to apply vacuum only on the surface of the piece in contact with the stacker belts was the first step to reduce energy consumption on these stackers.

Since then, Biele Group has supplied vacuum stackers to the big producers of Aluminium, Stainless Steel and other nonferric products all over the world.

In 2011, Biele Group starts supplying vacuum stackers specialized in automobile components for Blanking Lines. These stackers allow processing Steel and Aluminium components of different qualities, coatings and even high elastic limits.

The vacuum stackers developed by Biele Group allow the stacking of pieces with the same dimensions as those stacked on traditional magnetic stackers, achieving the same productivity. To this end, Biele has developed special piece tracking systems on conveyors, station transfer units, specific cleaning systems for Aluminium and other components to achieve optimum productivity and ensure the required robustness on these type of installations.

Once the productivity and reliability aspects have been ensured, another key aspect on this type of stackers is that of energy efficiency. The evolution of the automotive sector towards lighter vehicles often implies the implementation of aluminium pieces instead of steel, which leads to a revolution on the development of stacking systems adapted to these needs.

Whenever the blanking line is processing exclusively aluminium components, there is no doubt the vacuum stacker is the most suitable technology. This reduces changes between different materials, with the resulting decrease of the different scrap management on a same line, change of cassettes of the flattening machines according to the type of material, cleaning time and definitely, reduction of the downtime between a reference and another one of a different material, increasing productivity.

Our customers not always decide on this evolution towards aluminium materials in a sudden way but initially require the line with a dedication shared between the implementation of Aluminium and Steel materials. In these cases, irrespective of the investment degree required for the line, which results more favorable to the implementation of vacuum stackers, it is also important to take into account the energy efficiency of the stacker.

In the latest vacuum stackers, Biele Group has made great progress in the energy optimization of the vacuum stacker, reducing consumption up to a third part of that achieved by implementing vacuum technologies for existing stackers in the market. By consuming one third of the energy of a traditional vacuum stacker, even when the implementation of vacuum pieces is only of one third of the full line production, energy consumption is equivalent to that of a stacker that combines magnetic holding systems for steel with vacuum for aluminium.

The development carried out by Biele Group for optimizing energy consumption on vacuum stackers implies on the one hand, the reduction of the demand for the vacuum system

>> To this end, a photoelectric cell-based piece tracking system is implemented in order to enable only those vacuum kits of the stacker zones with piece presence. Thus, vacuum for piece lifting is generated where the piece is located. This tracking is carried out with a gap below 100 mm.

>> The position of the blank is detected by each belt arm independently. Logically, according to the piece width, those arms not being operational shall not generate a vacuum demand.

>> Likewise, the stations having been provided with independent arms, vacuum shall only be enabled on the station that requires it.

>>Moreover, the belts provided have been specially designed, which results in a significant reduction of air leaks crosswise to the belt of a 20%.

 

On the other hand, the development of the Biele Group vacuum stackers is aimed at optimizing the required pressure and flow, for which the system has been designed. Thus, it can be adapted according to:

>> The quality of the pieces to be processed: vacuum pressure adapts to the quality of the piece to be used. For example, a well flattened piece usually requires about a 50% vacuum pressure from that required by a piece with a not so good flattening quality for example when processing a strip tail at the end of the coil to be processed.

>> The number of pieces to be processed: the flow adapts to the number of pieces on the stacker. The higher the number of pieces, the higher the flow required to ensure that they are retained by part of the stacker belts to the stacking zone.

 

The combination of both strategies aimed at the optimization of the energy consumption for development of the Biele Group vacuum stacker implies a low energy consumption, with the subsequent drastic reduction of the operating costs associated thereto.

As an international group committed to development, we are currently present in more than 50 countries. Biele Group, with production plants in Europe and subsidiary companies in USA and China provides assistance for all their installations located in almost all industrialized countries over the world. Thus, the group is in a position to give an efficient and immediate response to customer needs by offering a close and effective service.

 

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