Innovative product outfeeding for light conveyor technology
Making the material flow on conveyor lines more efficient - this was the goal pursued by three graduates of further training to become state-certified technicians for mechanical engineering at the Berufsbildende Schulen Osnabrück as part of their final thesis at the company de Man Automation + Service in Borgholzhausen. Together with the automation specialist, the students developed a module that is integrated into existing conveyor lines in order to eject goods at a 90-degree angle. Advantage: The module is more compact and flexible than previous solutions, easy to maintain and suitable for all types of products.
After just under seven weeks of implementation, Henrike Pörtge (technical product designer), Jannik Borkowski (technical product designer), and Hendrik Zweers (mechatronics engineer for refrigeration and air conditioning) presented her project first in the de Man company and then in the technical school. The finale was the presentation on June 11th as part of the project fair for the graduates of the technical colleges at the BBS Brinkstraße. The newly developed module is integrated into existing conveyor lines in order to eject goods at a 90-degree angle. The main conveyor line does not have to be stopped for the ejection, so that a continuous material flow is guaranteed. The conveying speed is up to 0.5 meters per second. The main conveyor belt of the module has embedded free-running balls, which are rotated by an internal belt conveyor in order to transport the goods away to the side. The module is suitable for products with a maximum weight of 25 kilograms.
More compact, more flexible, faster
Up to now, de Man has mainly used a “pusher” for product ejection, i.e. a pneumatic cylinder attached to the side of the conveyor belt. However, this solution was only suitable for conveyor belts that had enough space on the side next to the conveyor to be able to guarantee the stroke of the cylinder. Connections for compressed air and electricity were also necessary. The solution also reached its limits with tightly timed product ejections, as it requires a long action time and interferes with the conveying space with every action, which can lead to a build-up of products. The module newly developed by the three graduates scores with its compact design, which can be seamlessly integrated into existing conveyor systems and does not require any additional lateral space. In addition, the module is suitable for all product types, regardless of weight (up to 25 kilograms) and geometry (only a smooth contact surface is required). Further plus points are the high variability of the ejection through the adjustment of the belt speeds and the length of the conveyor belt as well as the fast achievable cycle times. The structure as a drawer system allows easy access to the most important components and makes the module extremely easy to assemble and maintain.
The three graduates were - in close cooperation with two designers from de Man - responsible for the complete implementation of the project from brainstorming and development to the preparation of the complete 3D data set including technical drawings to the creation of a product video and the assembly instructions. The module will now be used in future projects by the automation specialist and will optimize the material flow here. Everyone involved was completely satisfied with the project, and the graduates particularly praised the good support from the de Man designers. Now the three technicians will start their professional life with their newly acquired knowledge and a very good final grade, maybe in automation technology.