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Eisenmann, a Paint Shop 4.0 pioneer, debuts an integrated, end-to-end solution for the paint shop of the future

Böblingen/Holzgerlingen, Germany, November 7, 2018 – Plant engineering enterprise Eisenmann, headquartered in southern Germany, has built and pre-installed equipment for a new paint shop. The solution is ultimately destined for Kecskemét, Hungary, but made its debut yesterday in Holzgerlingen. The event demonstrated the individual but interconnected production steps based on Eisenmann technologies. For the first time, these have been implemented as an end-to-end, highly flexible, skidless paint shop – underscoring Eisenmann’s ability to design and build one-stop, future-proof solutions.

Eisenmann pre-assembles paint shop components at its Technology Center in Holzgerlingen near Stuttgart. The approximately 15,000 m2 production halls enable the enterprise to put customer-specific solutions to the test prior to delivery – and to cooperate closely with customers to tailor new technologies to their needs. A prime example is a new paint shop, built for the expanded Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét, Hungary. As Jörg Robbin, Vice President of Product Development, Automotive Systems at Eisenmann explains: “We are proud to be implementing a skidless paint shop in Kecskemét that incorporates a number of our solutions. With our combination of Industry 4.0 technologies, we are making the vision of a highly flexible and efficient smart paint shop a reality.”

Highly flexible skidless conveyor

At the heart of this fully integrated, end-to-end solution is Eisenmann’s VarioLoc conveyors. They enable skidless movement of vehicle bodies through the paint shop. As Robbin emphasizes, “Eliminating the need for heavy skids paves the way for greater flexibility in terms of cycle times, throughput, resources, and vehicle architectures.”

VarioLoc conveyors with the car bodies move along a rail installed in the floor. The drives are independent, and speed can be adjusted according to each process step. As a result, cycle times and throughput can be managed flexibly and optimized. Moreover, the modular system can be relocated to a new site, and easily extended without major modifications – as all VarioLocs are of identical design, and comprise highly standardized components. This enables responsiveness to fluctuating workloads, and quick and simple changeovers between vehicle models during ongoing production, without specially trained staff. In conventional paint shops, by contrast, it would be necessary to purchase entirely new skids, or to make significant alterations to existing ones.

Smart, energy-efficient dryers

State-of-the-art dryers play a pivotal role in ensuring high paint quality at OEMs and their suppliers. The corresponding processes require considerable energy input – meaning efficiency gains translate into huge savings. “Our Smart Oven represents a milestone in vehicle body drying. This new solution evenly delivers heat to the chassis, yet requires significantly less energy. This, in turn, reduces resources consumed by the paint shop, and slashes harmful emissions. Users benefit in the long term from an improved ecological footprint and higher coating quality,” Robbin states. The Smart Oven is among the solutions leveraged in the Kecskemét paint shop.

The Smart Oven can make the most of its strengths when deployed in conjunction with VarioLoc skidless conveyors. In the past, the hefty skids carrying the vehicle bodies through the dryer had to be heated up and cooled down with each cycle. And for a skid that tips the scales at 200 kg that is a huge amount of energy. By taking the skids out of the picture, VarioLoc reduces energy consumption for drying alone by up to 13 percent – and that is just part of the potential 37 percent savings that can be achieved annually with the Smart Oven. This total includes efficiency gains through preheated combustion air and reduced pressure loss (16 percent) and through load-dependent operation (eight percent).

Intelligent conveyor solution for pretreatment

The scope of supply for the Kecskemét paint shop includes a pretreatment and electrocoating line featuring the E-Shuttle 200 conveyor. The VarioLocs transfer the car bodies to the individual shuttles, and these then move them through the electrodeposition (ED) tank. A variety of car models can be processed on a single line. An intelligent shuttle control unit, connected via bus with the PLC, enables each shuttle to respond autonomously to changes in the process. In addition, it is possible to capture and store data on the exact position of each vehicle body at any time. This ensures complete visibility, and can be used for subsequent analysis to improve production and increase flexibility. The result is better paint quality and a higher first-run rate. As Jörg Robbin points out, “Bearing in mind the trend toward mass customization in the automotive industry, E-Shuttle 200 is a smart investment. The system’s intelligent control unit enables easy, seamless integration into connected manufacturing environments. And that underscores E-Shuttle 200’s future-proof design and suitability for the smart factory.”

Paint application and overspray removal

Mercedes-Benz applies a primerless top coat to its vehicle bodies. Eliminating the solvent-based primer means greater eco-friendliness and lower operating costs. What’s more, Eisenmann’s application systems are a precise fit for the two-layer base coat. And for the Kecskemét paint shop, the company is providing the entire paint supply system and a top coat line, comprising six spray booths with 36 paint application and 24 handling robots. The latter open the car doors and hoods, allowing automated application of paint to the interior. VarioBell v.2 high-speed rotary atomizers and the VarioCharger v.2 paint metering system minimize paint loss. Eisenmann is also supplying application equipment for sealing and damping materials.

In addition, Eisenmann’s modular E-Cube solution removes paint overspray mechanically, and is sustainable and energy-efficient. It offers diverse advantages over conventional wet scrubbers. E-Cube saves energy, and does not require water, chemicals or other additives. It boasts an exceptionally high removal rate, and is user-friendly. The filtration modules (cubes) are controlled and monitored via a touch panel, and can be replaced while the spray booth is in operation. Furthermore, disposal of the solid matter trapped in the filters is convenient and simple.

Outstanding flexibility in automotive paint shops

The skidless paint shop for the Kecskemét plant highlights Eisenmann’s role as a Paint Shop 4.0 pioneer. The enterprise has combined multiple state-of-the-art technologies to enable flexible, sustainable and energy-efficient car production – independent of chassis or engine type, and capable of being modified in line with changing demand. The solution will be pre-assembled in Holzgerlingen by the end of the year, then transported to Kecskemét and installed. The first chassis are expected to roll off the line by the early 2020s.

About Eisenmann

Eisenmann SE is a leading international provider of systems and services for surface finishing, material flow automation, thermal process technology and environmental engineering. The family-run enterprise is headquartered in Böblingen, southern Germany, and has been advising and assisting customers across the globe for more than 65 years. It designs and builds flexible, energy- and resource-efficient systems that are tailored to customer-specific requirements, and support state-of-the-art manufacturing and intralogistics. Eisenmann has a workforce of over 3,000 worldwide, with 27 sites in 15 countries in Europe, the Americas and the BRIC nations. In 2017, Eisenmann posted annual revenues of 723 million euros.


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