01. Sep 2021
Partner company BETH Sondermaschinen GmbH installs 50-meter-long production plant with state-of-the-art robot technology for prefabricated house manufacturer
Medebach, Germany. Anybody who is building a house will want the best quality, high energy efficiency, and sustainable, environmentally friendly building materials. Wood is the building material of the future and fulfills these requirements perfectly. State-of-the-art prefabricated houses such as those offered by manufacturer FingerHaus in Frankenberg (Eder) are enjoying growing popularity. To keep up with the rising demand, not only are highly-qualified specialists required but also an efficient production process that both increases productivity and reduces employee workload while satisfying the stringent quality criteria. To comply with these standards, our partner company BETH Sondermaschinen GmbH has developed a complex production plant, 50 meters in length and with robot automation, designed to meet the requirements of prefabricated house builder FingerHaus and to perform two functions in particular: it uses a robot to supply wall timbers for the partially automated production of wooden frameworks, before going on to panel the wall elements in two cells in a subsequent, fully automated process.
"As a living material, wood places particular demands on machines and processes. BETH Sondermaschinen GmbH specializes in the production of individual special machines through to complete production systems for timber processing, particularly in the fields of wood door and window manufacturing. In the project with FingerHaus we’ve set about addressing the challenge that the panel geometries in the production of prefabricated house walls are becoming more and more individual, and also that items like wood panels or plasterboard are generally supplied in jumbled stacks direct from cutting. So, the automation solution has to be flexible and smart to ensure that production is process-reliable and future-ready," says Friedrich Köster, CEO of BETH Sondermaschinen GmbH. Of primary importance in developing the system, he adds, was the initial detailed exchange of information with the FingerHaus employees. Here, the work processes were analyzed in detail and potential for improvement worked out to enable the development at the end of the process of an automation system matched optimally to the customer’s needs and compliant with ‘Industry 4.0’.
Optimal use of production area/reduced burden on employees
The core element of the solution is a state-of-the-art camera system that detects the position of the timber and plasterboard sheets and constantly communicates with the robot via a specially designed software package. Next is an interface to the CAD system that provides the specification data. The result is a high-precision paneling machine that allows efficient cooperation between employees and robots thanks to the intelligent design of its safety zones and makes optimal use of the available production area.
"This machine doesn’t just bring the production of our customer FingerHaus in line with the state of the art but also relieves the employees of the heavy physical work they used to have to do, and, in these times of continuing shortage of specialist personnel, it can also perform other important tasks,’ summarizes Friedrich Köster.