Innovative conveyor technology on track
Track-guided trolleys for heavy duty transportation
With around 470 trucks rolling off the conveyors every day, the truck plant belongs to one of the biggest truck production facilities in the world. This is where, under the direction of ROFA AG, a custom transport concept for the production line for trucks and utility vehicles was developed.
Workers underneath. Heavy loads above.
While the workers go about their work calmly and intently, a 12-meter-long truck moves above their heads, progressively gathering shape. In such a situation, it must be guaranteed that the materials handling technology hovering overhead is 100% secure! As of September 2021, ROFA AG is in charge of this, with a unique concept that managed to win over the site. The trucks that undergo final assembly here are just as unique: the production line commissioned is for special trucks.
Up to 10 tons per lifting table
The ROFA Group developed a total of 11 track-guided trolleys, consisting of one towing vehicle and one trailer trolley. Both parts of the trolley have an integrated, hydraulically controlled lifting table that can carry 10 tons each. The trolley system is used along the entire final assembly line, from picking up the truck chassis to the final step of assembly, where the assembled trucks are fueled and filled with oil or coolant.
Hydraulic control in semiautomatic
Once the final step in the process is complete, the trolley is backed out underneath the truck. The truck is raised by means of a stationary lifting device at the wheels so that the trolley can be released. It automatically returns to the start of the production line via a cross chain and rail system. From there, it cycles back through all of the stations again. The carriage with the integrated hydraulic lifting tables, is semiautomatically operated by the worker, but fully monitored by the safety control system. The two trolleys can only be moved jointly; the physical link between them forms the frame of the truck. An additional cable connection was explicitly not wanted. That the workers can move freely between the two trolleys, a safety-oriented optical data transceiver is used for communication.
More efficient, more powerful, more maintenance-friendly
The switch from the old transport system to the new one was realized during running operation. The old carts were gradually unloaded and replaced by a new pair of ROFA AG trolleys. Absolute compatibility was therefore mandatory. The advantages of the new materials handling technology play out on multiple levels at once. The vehicles from ROFA can manage more weight, an innovative inductive charging technology is used in the base plates, which is more maintenance-friendly as well as allowing more freedom of movement due to the lack of cables. A complete success - and for at least the next 14 years. That’s how long the materials handling technology is intended to be in use.
Project: Final assembly line for trucks Involved Group companies: ROFA INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION AG Project duration: 11 months
Products & performance
- Rail-mounted vehicles, called “trolleys”, consisting of a towing vehicle and trailer trolley with integrated hydraulic lifting tables, hoisting capacity of 10 t each
- Hydraulic, secure lifting table for working beneath raised loads
- Cable-free, secure communication between towing vehicle and trailer trolley
- Conveyed goods: Special vehicle truck
- Scope: 11 pairs of trolleys with changeable fixtures for the various types
- Automated trolley return
- Length: 120 m assembly line plus 120 m return