SCHMALZ_GERMANY: Increased Efficiency with the Vacuum Lifters in the Door Manufacturing Industry.
The Bichler Türen carpentry workshop uses vacuum tube lifters from Schmalz when handling wooden boards and doors. This allows the ten-man operation to load its machining tools ergonomically and quickly. Every door is one-of-a-kind – that is Bichler’s promise. The carpentry workshop is located in the municipality of Berg im Gau in Bavaria, Germany. Over the last two generations, master joiners Josef Bichler Jr. and Markus Bichler have turned the carpenter’s and joiner’s workshop, which was founded in 1949, into one of the largest door manufacturers in the region. “Our high-quality interior doors and front doors are manufactured for our customers based on their individual requests in a wide range of styles, from classic to modern, Mediterranean to traditional German country home,” says Markus Bichler, explaining the company’s formula for success. “With our ten employees, we produce between 1,500 and 2,000 doors per year.” In order to meet their customers’ high standards while at the same time increasing efficiency, the carpentry workshop decided to start seriously investing in modern manufacturing technology a few years ago. First they purchased an edge banding machine, then a CNC machining center and a panel saw. “We quickly realized that we also needed to optimize the loading process as well,” remembers Klaus Bichler, Head of Manufacturing. They decided to purchase two vacuum tube lifters JumboErgo from Schmalz to load to panel saw and the CNC machining center. The company was already familiar with these products at the time. At a trade fair the two master joiners were finally convinced by the many advantages of the ergonomic vacuum lifting devices.
Two challenges, one solution The vacuum tube lifter JumboErgo features modular design and can be used flexibly for handling tasks of up to 300 kg. It consists primarily of its trademark blue lift tube, an operator handle, a suction pad and a vacuum generator. The flexible modular system allowed system consultants from Schmalz to create an optimal solution for both of the challenges at Bichler. A vacuum tube lifter JumboErgo 300 with a four head suction pad was installed for loading the panel saw. The thick wooden boards used are up to 2,100 x 5,200 x 100 millimeters in size and weigh up to 250 kilograms. They are taken from the high-rack storage area with a fork lift and transported directly to the saw. The employee uses the tube lifter to take the boards from the stack and place it on the machining table, where they are cut into two or more door leaves depending on their size. The carpenters then use these door leaves to create the finished, personalized doors for the customer. On the CNC machining center, the rebates for rubber seals, cables, bolts and impact protection are milled. Here, the carpentry workshop uses the vacuum tube lifter JumboErgo 140 to handle the doors, which weigh around 100 kg. The JumboErgo is equipped with a four head suction pad with an additional linear rail, which allows the gripper to be adjusted quickly and easily to fit the various dimensions, even when handling doors with small window panels and narrow frames. Each tube lifter is attached to a column-mounted jib crane from Schmalz with five and six meter long crane rails, which are made of aluminum and can be moved easily and precisely thanks to their light weight..
Ergonomic lifting, safe handling For the employees, vacuum handling means significantly less physical strain. They were immediately impressed with how easy it was to operate the tube lifter. The heavy, dense wooden boards and doors can now be lifted without physical strain and without the risk of back injuries. Since the machines can be loaded as part of the normal work process, it also saves a significant amount of time and doesn’t require the assistance of a second employee. The vacuum lifting device also features a major advantage when loading the machining center. “At this point, the doors are essentially finished and so it’s important that they are not damaged during handling. With the Schmalz lifter, they can be laid horizontally onto the machine without having to slide them,” says Klaus Bichler. Previously that was not possible, in particular with very wide doors. At Bichler, they know that in Schmalz, they have found the right partner for optimizing their handling processes. The company was satisfied with the vacuum specialist’s consultation, mounting, start of operations and employee training services. All in all, the modern machining tools and the vacuum tube lifters allowed the carpentry workshop to significantly increase productivity. Before, every individual door had to be manually handled at least ten times before it was complete. Now the doors are manufactured more efficiently in fewer steps. In summary, Klaus Bichler says: “These investments are a major reason why our company is so successful today.”
About Schmalz. Schmalz is the worldwide leading provider of automation, handling and clamping systems, providing customers in numerous industries with innovative, efficient solutions based on vacuum technology. Schmalz products are used in a wide variety of production processes – for example, as grippers on robot arms in the production of car bodies, in CNC machining centers as clamping solutions for furniture pieces, or used by an operator to lift items ranging from boxes to solar modules. Schmalz customers can either choose from a diverse line of components or they can benefit from a complete solution that is custom-tailored to their requirements. Schmalz is dedicated to its customers, providing groundbreaking innovation, exceptional quality and comprehensive consultancy. The company is headquartered in Glatten (Black Forest region of Germany) and is active in 15 additional countries with their own subsidiaries. Schmalz employs a total of around 800 persons worldwide. For more information contact Mr Ralf Moser: