The Krones Group: specialized on sheet metal working

the krones group, timesavers

Read a press release about one of our customers, the Krones Group, written by Dieter Schnee.

Specialized on sheet metal working

Edge rounding: Innovations ensure fast market success

The Krones Group, headquartered in Neutraubling, Germany, plans, develops and manufactures machines and complete lines for the fields of process, filling and packaging technology. Its product portfolio is rounded off by information technology, factory planning and numerous goods from Krones’ subsidiaries. Every day, millions of bottles, cans, and special-shaped containers are handled on lines from Krones, particularly in breweries and at producers of soft-drinks, still or sparkling wines and spirits, but also in the comestible products and luxury food industries, not to forget the chemical, cosmetic and pharmaceutical sectors. (Fig. 1).

Due to the skills of its highly motivated staff since long time the company has become a global market leader: throughout the world, one in four beverage bottles is filled, labelled and packed on a line from Krones.

To achieve and ensure the extremely high quality level of the manufactured equipment, state-of-the-art workshop facilities are a must, like for example the innovative deburring and edge rounding machines from the Dutch engineering company Timesavers.

Tons of material to be processed

Mr Walter Schwarzbeck, manufacturing engineer in the sheet metal working section of the huge Neutraubling factory, is convinced that sheet metal transformation is one of the key factors for the market success of the group. (Fig. 2). He explains: “All over the world, our production facilities are equipped with more than 550 machine tools. So we process about 15,000 tons of stainless steel and 45 tons of aluminium per year. In addition, there are mild steel and plastic materials to be transformed. Not to forget our pipe machining centre in Neutraubling, which has to be supplied with 302 km of pipes every year“. (Fig. 3).

6,500 containers with completed products and components are sent annually from the production facility in the county of Regensburg, and worldwide 9,200. To supply the customers, 5,400 of them are transported by ship, 2,650 by truck and 1,150 by air – a big challenge for the logistics specialists of the group. An advantage, at least here in the county, is the new rail connection of the main facility – a result of the internally organized sustainability campaign.

Efficient production steps required: Deburring – edge rounding

Mr Martin Landendinger, head of the CPL Sheet Metal Production section (sheet metal working unit), is conscious of his responsibility for the high quality of the Krones supplies. Together with his 160 colleagues he manufactures as internal service provider parts and components for the entire group. He explains: ”We do a rather universal job in the company. Our components are used to assemble new machines, they are sold as spare parts or serve as accessories or for retrofit purposes – the latter represent about 25 percent of all parts. Our highly motivated staffs, working with an ultramodern fleet of machines, are an obvious example how top performance can be achieved”.

Concerning his production section, Mr Landendinger gives some details: “Partially we work in three shifts, 25 percent of the daily transformed 20 tons of sheet or coil material consists of stainless steel. Per hour we manufacture about 400 individual parts. Monthly, we handle 15,000 orders. Never ever the finished equipment for different customers is similar. Therefore we manufacture for each order almost always small batches of less than 10 pieces. Here our laser cutting units are the tools of the choice”. Workpieces produced by laser cutting show hardly a burr, but the two sharp edges need to be rounded. For this production step the Krones machine park is equipped with a WRB42 series rotary brush machine delivered by Timesavers from Goes in the Netherlands. “If necessary, these machines allow deburring by a pre-grinding process and final edge rounding. The whole work is carried out in only one operation step, we need just a single machine without any further time to be spent. For our application this is the best resolution” continues Mr Landendinger.

Numerous tests passed successfully

The first machine from Timesavers has been purchased nearly five years ago. “But only after it has passed numerous test successfully” explains the team leader of the sheet metal working section in Neutraubling, Mr Markus Karl. The tests were conducted in the showroom of AIV Amann, an agent which represents the Dutch company in Unterschleißheim, Germany. The result was convincing. Mr Karl continues: „After years of experience with this kind of machines we looked for equipment which guarantees very good deburring and edge rounding results, without consuming too much of the operator’s attention“. However, the team leader points out further advantages of the WRB42 series machines (Fig. 5): “Often even odds and ends contribute to the final decision! These machines, for example, are equipped with a conveyor belt which is cleaned “in passing” by the rotary brushes. The operators are so taken by the simple manner of controlling the machine without any superfluous knickknacks like touch-screens or overloaded software – just switching on the machine, positioning the parts and start deburring, and that’s it”. The lit up interior and a window in the door allow the operator to watch the brushing process and to modify parameters if necessary.

Simple solutions are the best

At this point, the management recognized: „We always prefer perfectly designed equipment with all sorts of additional gadgets. But in this case my colleagues Mr Schwarzbeck, Mr Landendinger and me learnt that simple solutions have to be preferred“. As result of the good experience, a machine of the second generation of the WRB42 series has been installed in line with the second laser cut unit of the workshop. A third one has been mounted in the Flensburg production facility for bottle cleaning machines. Both of the WRB42 series machines in Neutraubling are 100 % identical, their high quality results do not differ in any way. The new machine, however, came with advanced sustainability. The Dutch engineers succeeded to add economical gains to the equipment. The vacuum pump is now sensor-controlled, its performance remains always limited exactly to the level which is necessary to fix the workpieces on the conveyor belt. Whereas the former vacuum pumps always operated under full load, the new construction allows Krones a considerably saving in energy. But the latest generation of machines has still more advantages to offer. The multi-brushing operations allow uniform deburring, edge rounding and finishing of laser cut, punched, machined or even embossed workpieces. The brushing unit turns around its own axis, it is composed of eight clockwise and counterclockwise turning and, at the same time, rotating brushes. Abrasive flaps on the brushes permit to attack the edges of the workpiece literally from all directions, any reworking becomes omitted.

The modular design of the multi-rotation brushing machine allowed us to add a pre-finishing station with endless grinding belt.

Nothing is more convincing than an excellent machining result

As Mr Karl points out, new investments of the company are examined and tested in a completely unbiased manner – the future operators are fully involved in the decision process, nobody acts against their advice: „There is nothing more convincing than to obtain an excellent machining result at your proper workpiece“. Even more highlights favoured the decision for the Timesavers’ edge rounding machines, clarifies Mr Karl: “The service life of the rotary brushes is considerably long. The original kit of brushes has been changed after 2 ½ years – though this machine has been continuously operated in two shifts. Last but not least, the grinding dust can be easily removed from the collecting tray of the extraction system.”

Mr Walter Schwarzbeck provides further information about the used materials: “As mentioned we mostly handle sheets of stainless steel with thicknesses between 0.8 and 15 millimetres. Even workpieces with external dimensions of 3,000 × 1,500 millimetres can pass the edge rounding machine, the abrasive belt to remove coarse burr however is limited to a width of 1,350 millimetres.


Evolution in the field of rotary brush grinding

Use of robots allows enhanced automation

As a result of more than 50,000 units in service Timesavers has become the synonym for global progress in the field of rotary brush machines.

Recently the Dutch company Timesavers has presented a combination of it’s state-of-the-art rotary brush machine WRBW42 and a robot: the workpieces to be deburred or edge-rounded pass the machine on a dedicated zone of the conveying belt; the robot identifies the parts, turns them and, for the final brushing operation, puts them on the opposite zone of the conveying belt.

Due to this combination, rotary brushing profits from an enormous gain of benefits – only loading and unloading of the WRBW42 remain to be carried out by the operator. Furthermore, the development increases the level of integration into fully automatic processing lines, as expected from the upcoming standard “Industry 4.0”.