Conveyor Systems transfer technology to automotive industry

A leading car manufacturer awarded Conveyor Systems Ltd (CSL) a contract to design and supply a conveying system incorporating both twin and single trolley cars to transport cages of flat steel sheets weighing up to 4 tonnes to and from a hydraulic press to produce body panels.

The company was looking to replace an existing AGV system with a more technologically advanced transportation system to meet the increased demands and throughputs that coincided with the launch of a new vehicle being built alongside other models at the UK plant.

The trolley cars were purposely designed to accommodate a wide range of heavy duty cages either one large or two small, in six sizes ranging from 1 metre up to 1.9 metres wide.

The cages holding the flat steel sheets are taken from the de-stacker and positioned on the heavy duty roller conveyor integrated into the twin cage trolley cars. These then feed to either side of the press with an interconnecting single cage car oscillating between them forming a layout in the form of a letter “h”. Pressed body parts are then returned to the stacker and the process continues.

The cycle time from loading cages to offloading and return took only 4½mins which was well within the time allotted. However, it was essential that the system design was flexible and totally reliable, allowing clear access to the press for maintenance purposes and also offering capability to by-pass the conveyors should for any reason the system goes down.

As the press requires cages to be fed from two sides, due to the need for LH and RH components, the two twin cage cars have to be capable of stopping in five different positions, which necessitates ramping the speed for accurate interfacing of the different sizes utilising lasers for both accuracy of positioning and operator safety.

The cars incorporated both flanged and ‘flat’ wheels that are mounted onto solid steel 40mm shafts for accurate guidance along the floor rails and due to the length of the twin cars, a third set of wheels was added to ensure maximum support with minimum deflection.

 Control panels were integrated into the individual cars, which also includes purpose built heavy duty pallet roller conveyor with 89mm diameter rollers fitted with twin sprockets, pitched at 158mm, with chain drive provided by SEW geared motors, direct driven for easy adjustment and maintenance.

Conveyor Systems Ltd (CSL) worked closely to agree a schedule for installation and commissioning of the system to keep disruption to ongoing operations to a minimum.

Working as part of the team, CSL used their knowledge and experience as system integrators to provide a professional cost effective and operational efficient solution to meet the customer’s individual needs.  

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