The next generation of manufacturing

Automated production system

The new base plate in the installation area at BOLL & KIRCH

At the end of May 2019, BOLL & KIRCH will start to install a flexible manufacturing system so as to make its production more efficient and more flexible. This will allow BOLL & KIRCH to respond to the increasing range of filtration solutions and delivery time requirements in a more flexible way. The next generation of manufacturing will then be put into operation in September.

What is a flexible manufacturing system?

A flexible manufacturing system is an automated production system that is designed to manufacture a group of components with a minimum of manual intervention. Several machine tools and a multi-level system, in the form of a high-bay warehouse for processing the filter housing parts, are connected via a transport and storage system to allow for an automated workpiece handling.

The special feature of flexible manufacturing systems is that they can process workpieces of a certain range of workpieces in any order without significant delays due to changeover processes. To this end, they use tools, for example, in a central background magazine with short access times directly at the machine. The tools are preset so that they can be installed ready for use within a short period of time. The conventional, time-consuming tool change is eliminated in the flexible manufacturing system; the job throughput times are faster. In addition, the central clamping of the workpieces and the storage of the tools in a magazine can be carried out independently, saving non-productive and distribution times for the machines.

The machine tools, set-up processes, transport management and several external tasks, such as tool service life and tool availability, NC programmes, workpiece storage, multiple clamping, etc., are coordinated using a master computer with interfaces to ERP, tool management, MES and production documentation. Thus, the flexible manufacturing system is able, for example, in the case of a tool breakage, to flexibly plan and change the job priorities in a matter of seconds, considering all necessary resources.

Installation of the flexible manufacturing system at BOLL & KIRCH

The installation of the flexible manufacturing system will start at the end of May 2019 with the delivery of the machine tools. The system will be put into operation in September 2019.

Besides the acquisition and installation of the flexible manufacturing system at BOLL & KIRCH, adjacent systems, for example, the interfaces to the various information systems, such as ERP and MES, as well as infrastructural measures, such as KSS connection, electrical supply and tool management, have to be modified. In order to give sufficient stability to the complex construction of the flexible manufacturing system, the base plate in the installation area has already been renewed and connected to the surrounding areas.