During the complete conversion of the IVECO Magirus production facility, it became apparent what aluminium cranes from the company eepos from Wiehl near Cologne really achieve: “Almost like new” were the eepos cranes and handling systems that were dismantled after almost five years. Despite initial resistance, it became apparent how sustainable the investment decision for the eepos one aluminium modular system was.
Dieter Wettengl, foreman of mechanical maintenance, has been working at the Ulm plant for 40 years: “Of course we intended to reuse as much of the existing crane system as possible during the conversion,” he reports. “But we didn’t expect the material to come off the hall ceiling in such good condition after five years of full production use.”
eepos convinces even aluminium sceptics
It wasn’t always like this: when the ladder production in Ulm needed new bridge cranes five years earlier, there was one point in the layout of the IVECO factory planner at the time where crane system minds were divided: to make a 90-degree turn in a 12-metre narrow frame, with a given grid spacing of only five by five metres and including a safety clearance. “At that time, some people didn’t want to accept anything but steel,” Dieter Wettengl remembers. “Aluminium – they said – that’s so light, it can’t be anything …” was the common opinion. Meanwhile, the eepos technicians were working on the design programme and were the only supplier who managed to solve the technical challenge.
Lightness has many dimensions
With this large frame construction project, eepos had convinced IVECO in 2008 and at the same time gained the trust of the IVECO workers, because they are always included in planning. The new lightness in several dimensions was unbeatable. Aluminium is light: it is easy to assemble and also to disassemble. The eepos system is completely well thought-out, assures Dieter Wettengl: “The connections of the individual crane runway sections are very easy to realise via side plates. Anyone really can do that. And the rail transitions are absolutely clean – you’ll never get that with steel!” At the same time, the eepos modular system with its standard dimensions is so flexible that an optimal crane solution can be found for every production task. Modifications are also easy. This is the purpose of the so-called service stations: easily detachable units in the rail that allow access to the individual segments if, for example, a tool is now needed on the left instead of the right or an additional crane becomes necessary. Last but not least, light means smooth running. The trolley rollers are made of the special plastic Lauramid, which – as can be seen after four years – actually does not wear out and supports the smooth running of the eepos system. “At the time, no one here believed that,” says Wettengl. That’s why there were measurements, because the workers had already complained about the sluggishness of the old steel transport system. Those who have to place extreme weights of up to 200 kg with millimetre precision eight hours a day are grateful for every relief.
Tractive force measurement proves 50% less effort
The tensile force measurements showed that the workers in the eepos system only have to exert half as much force under the same conditions as with the old steel system. In addition, the rollers of the running gears are arranged in such a way that they run cleanly and do not tilt even when pulled at an angle. Last but not least, the maintenance department, which maintains and checks all the crane systems, is also highly satisfied with the eepos handling systems: “We have had continuous operation since 2008 and no problems, no malfunctions, no replacements, no spare parts whatsoever,” confirms Michael Korn, head of maintenance. Production for the new IVECO Magirus fire protection technology in Ulm includes pre-assembly for individual assemblies and three assembly lines. eepos cranes also span pump production, four pump test benches, mechanical production, carpentry, metalworking and dispatch. Telescopic eepos cranes extend the reach where necessary and make the work even more flexible. No one in Ulm questions the reliable eepos functionality any more anyway: “Lightweight yet robust, durable, reliable – our workers have become real fans of eepos aluminium cranes since 2008,” Dieter Wettengl confirms.
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Modular lifting axes. Lightweight. Precise. Successful.
The modular aluminium system with a load capacity of up to 75 kg.