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Skidless, flexible and smart

Eisenmann’s VarioLoc is a modular conveyor system that enables skidless paint-shop operation.

Today’s automotive production plants must be flexible in all respects. That includes painting – a core manufacturing process – and the equipment that conveys vehicle bodies along the painting line. “This gave us the idea of the skidless paint shop, which received a very positive response from our customers. We have already followed through by developing VarioLoc,” explains Jörg Robbin, Vice President with responsibility for product development at Eisenmann’s Automotive Systems business unit.

Proven solutions were combined to create the modular VarioLoc system. Its shuttles move along a floor-mounted rail that does not require any control components. A shuttle conveys the vehicle body through the entire paint shop, changing speed according to the needs of each process stage. This creates significant flexibility in terms of cycle times and throughput. The number of drives required has been cut by 50 percent or more, and compared with conventional skid conveyors, the number of drive components has decreased by some 75 percent. This reduces capital investment, maintenance and power costs.

Shuttles are maintained and repaired offline at one of the dedicated maintenance bays. Faulty shuttles are disengaged and simply pushed out of the rail system, reducing downtime and eliminating the need for maintenance access points. The intelligent shuttles know when they need servicing, and make their way to a maintenance bay automatically.

Visionary approach to the drying phase
Skidless solutions are already being deployed to simplify the drying phase. VarioLoc is capable of both continuous and stop/go mode, and can change its mode of operation according to the body it conveys, allowing the dryer heating cycle to be tailored to specific requirements. Furthermore, since the system passes underneath the dryer, there is no need to install conveyor components inside the dryer itself. This saves space and power, improves quality, and reduces capital expenditure.

Jörg Robbin and his team are pursuing this line of thought further. They envisage a solution that is based on dryers with load-dependent control could slash energy costs. “Imagine the VarioLocs giving advance notice of their arrival at the dryer, enabling it to power up from standby mode and reach exactly the right temperature for the respective body,” says Robbin. This solution would be a perfect fit for the smart factory paradigm. And in view of VarioLoc’s impressive capabilities and Eisenmann’s extensive experience with drying technology, it will soon be within reach. “This vision may not be reality yet, but it does give us a small glimpse into this system’s immense potential,” believes Robbin.



Katrin  Renz


Eisenmann SE


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