Vacuum handling reduces handling times of parts.

Vacuum tube lifter with pneumatic swivelling unit is ideal
for the handling of collectors for solar systems.

Sales of solar systems are booming, in addition, the state subsidies offered in many countries for the use of solar systems on houses and industrial buildings have led to increased demand, which means that the manufacturers of such systems are having to expand their production and distribution capacities.

One such company, acts as a logistics centre which supplies installation firms with collectors, storage tanks, installation materials and various accessories.

The various components for solar applications are stocked, commissioned, packed and dispatched to the customers. Up to 200 collectors of various sizes are handled each day, a task which previously required the combined efforts of up to seven strong men. However, since a typical order comprises two to four collectors, a storage tank and various installation materials and accessories, and since the number of orders has increased steadily, these men were no longer able to handle all the hard work involved. For this reason, the company management decided to invest in practical aids for handling the components.

Economical commissioning of easily damaged solar collectors

Since the production facility had already introduced vacuum handling for the collectors and was very pleased with the results, it was only logical to reduce the materials handling in the logistics centre with the aid of vacuum handling systems from Schmalz (represented by Millsom Materials Handling in Australia & New Zealand).

After analysis of the requirements, a vacuum tube lifter JumboErgo 85 with pneumatic swivelling unit PSE was selected as the ideal solution. The vacuum tube lifter JumboErgo with PSE, offers sufficient reserves for the handling of collectors of all sizes safely and reliably. To ensure safe handling of the collectors, which are gripped by their smooth front surfaces, the lifter is equipped with a beam which carries four suction pads.

The pneumatic swivelling unit PSE permits the operator to swivel through 90° from the horizontal to the vertical position without the need for assistance by additional workers. The vacuum tube lifter is suspended from a slewing column crane with a jib length of 4500mm and a slewing range of 270°, thus providing a large working area. 

Vacuum handling offers many benefits

The vacuum tube lifter JumboErgo is now used to lift the necessary collectors from the stacks on the storage pallets, swivel them by 90° to the vertical position and place them upright on the delivery pallet. The upright position has the advantage that it makes best use of the available space in the delivery truck and that the collectors can be better protected against damage by means of edge protectors and by wrapping the components on the pallet in shrink film.

Working with the vacuum tube lifter is now highly efficient. Today, a single person can handle at least three times the number of collectors than was previously possible with seven strong men. The centre operates in two shifts, which means that one commissioning station with a vacuum handling system is sufficient to handle the enormous throughput. Last but not least, the safe, precise and reliable handling of the collectors also avoids damage to the collectors and thus the expensive handling of customer complaints, and this of course has a positive effect on the economics of the logistics centre.