Volkswagen’s highly successful Passat saloon and coupe are built at Emden on the north-west coast of Germany. The factory’s press shop supplies 20,000 parts each day and relies upon Leuze electronic for identification of its pressings using RFID.
To efficiently utilise the press-shop’s two large 73,000 KN presses that operate at a speed of up to 15 strokes per minute, requires a smooth material flow system and very high machine availability downstream.
A fundamental component of the material flow control is the RFID system from Leuze electronic. Once steel coils have been cut, the sheets are stacked onto pallets, where each of these pallets is fitted with an RFID transponder.
The assignment of the quality and product data of the pallet’s load into the RFID tag is an early stage in the process of ensuring the traceability of each pressed part back through the production steps all the way to the coil.
The RFID identification system also enables transparency in the material flow because it is dynamic and able to support automated interim storage. An example is when the cut sheets are temporarily stored in a heavy load shelving system.
This flexibility contributes to the optimisation of the material flow to match the production demand.
At the next step of the manufacturing process, when the sheet material is ready to be stamped in the presses, the RFID reader automatically captures the data from the transponder on the pallet.
There is an application specific challenge facing the RFID system in a press shop, because high-power magnets are used within a press feed system to fan out the sheets slightly for pick-up. This causes an extreme magnetic load for the pulsating magnetic field of the RFID system and therefore for this reason, the transponders have an application-specific design and are built into special plastic housings.
A different process within the materials handling system that relies on Leuze electronic, is the interim storage area, where pallets are handled by automated high-bay stacker cranes.
These cranes also Leuze electronic’s products, this time barcode positioning systems to accurately detect both horizontal and vertical positions by scanning tapes of barcodes positioned along the crane’s floor track and also on the shelves.
Leuze electronic also provide safety light barriers which VQ uses to ensure the safety of its operators.
The highest possible levels of reliability are required to ensure continuous material flow within the automotive industry as they are in other demanding industries such as materials handling and food and drink packaging. For this reason Leuze electronic carefully designs and manufactures it’s sensors to provide a performance reserve enabling reliable operation in real-world applications. The absolute safety of operators is a requirement in all industries and a requirement Leuze electronic can support with a wide product portfolio plus a machine safety inspection service.