Winkel has developed an innovative drive concept for the new storage and retrieval equipment of the Colibri series, which supports previously unattained dynamics and offers even more benefits. Even the vertical supply of the hoist with energy and signals is adapted to the high dynamics. The guidelok slimline F energy chain system from igus is used in this case. It was developed for speeds up to 7 m/s and accelerations up to 10 m/s2, yet is very lightweight and compact.
When linear guide and drive systems are called for, Winkel GmbH has an excellent reputation throughout the entire intra-logistics world. The company started more than 30 years ago with the development of WINKEL guide systems for heavy loads.
The WINKEL ROLLE with matching guide profile is predominantly used in liftmasts on material handling equipment and stationary material handling systems. Based on this construction kit, Winkel GmbH develops and produces complete hoisting and material handling machinery used by large system integrators and general business users, including as hoists and handling systems, robot linear axis, multi-axis linear system, or storage and retrieval equipment.
Over the course of many years, Winkel GmbH has developed predominantly customer-specific custom equipment for this business segment. Recently, the company presented yet another series product for this demanding material handling segment: The "COLIBRI" storage and retrieval unit, which is characterised by particularly high motion dynamics Dipl. Eng. Thomas Riffert, Managing Director at Winkel GmbH: "We determined that many of our customers have similar needs: a very dynamic storage and retrieval unit that travels with high accuracy and facilitates maximum use of space. “
New drive concept supports impressive dynamicsThe dynamics of the COLIBRI SRM are indeed impressive and can be followed live in the test field operated by Winkel GmbH. The unit travels horizontally at a maximum speed of 6 m/s and acceleration and deceleration of 5 m/s2 – and this at any height. Lifting is accomplished at speed of 3 m/s and acceleration of 3 m/s2. This is made possible by an innovative positive lock drive concept: a frequency controlled central drive on the lower and upper travel rail respectively engages with a pinion into a rack; synchronisation is accomplished mechanically with a cardan shaft. Due to its rigidity, this type of drive facilitates highly dynamic operation without incurring load swings. The system needs neither an elaborate electronic synchronisation mechanism for the two electrical motors nor an anti-swing system, which is essentially impossible to implement for such high speeds.
This special drive design also has a favourable impact on the reliability and the overall size of the automatic storage and retrieval system. A TÜV certified safety brake system ensures that the hydraulic buffers, which are normally installed at the aisle end, can be omitted. This preserves additional space that customers can fill with inventory.
The low weight is yet another advantage of the new drive. Thomas Riffert: "The synchronisation drive creates the prerequisites for a 30% lighter weight mechanical design, allowing us to use a smaller drive and to operate energy efficiently in spite of the high dynamics. “
The challenges the engineers at Winkel GmbH had to solve during the development of the "COLIBRI" also included the vertical energy supply system to the hoist. Due to the long-term relationship to igus, an energy chain with guidelok guide was used initially. igus had developed this guide system specifically for SRM and other material handling applications. It works without the customarily used enclosed troughs or other enclosures.
Instead, the chain is secured in the trough by two rocker arms actuated by the radius.
While guidelok has proven itself in a large number of cases, it reached its limits in this case due to the very high speeds. It was quite fortuitous that igus® introduced a new guide system almost at the same time when the first "COLIBRI" was completed at Winkel GmbH.
The system labeled as "guidelok slimline F" (the "F" means "fast")
is differentiated from previous guidelok systems due to its optimised guide mechanism. The trough continues to be omitted, and two thin, lightweight steel segments are installed every 2 metres Two automatically actuated rocker arms in the segments secure the chain and ensure quiet and smooth operation. When the chain travels through the segment in the radius, the rocker arm is deactivated, allowing the chain to move freely. The e-chain® is otherwise secured in the guide with the rocker arms. These locking rocker arms are supplemented by exposed guide rails between the segments, which facilitate even higher dynamics and materially reduces the noise level.
guidelok slimline F supports implementing hanging applications far in excess of 50 metres, and even high-speed SRMs can be supplied with energy: Speeds of up to 7 m/s and acceleration of up to 10 m/s2 can be realised.
This system is a precise match for the specifications required by Winkel GmbH, and was consequently installed. The energy supply system has proven its mettle in the test installation, which has been in operation for more than 24 months, as well as the initial field uses. Thomas Riffert: "The chain is reliably held in place with out swinging. In contrast to a dragline, the chain also gives us the ability to transmit data – allowing us to eliminate additional optoelectronics. " The maintenance free operation of the chain system and the easy installation is yet another benefit. guidelok slimline F also shines in a direct comparison with a bus bar from a cost aspect.
Winkel GmbH ships the COLIBRI SRMs with energy chain and guide, but without filling – this is taken care of by the customer. Winkel recommends that users employ chainflex® cables from the igus product range, which were developed for use in motion control systems. Most customers follow this recommendation and order fully harnessed readychain® systems from igus, which only need to be inserted into the chain and connected on-site.
This saves time as well as costs, and dramatically simplifies logistics – after all, the users of SRMs are without fail logistics experts. Yet another rationale for single sourcing is the proven chain-cable guarantee from igus®.
Winkel GmbH not only positively highlights the hardware of the energy chain systems, but also the good collaboration with igus®. Thomas Riffert: "Whenever a job needs to be done, igus has shown to be particularly approachable. A joint analysis is performed to determine what can be improved, and an optimised solution is quickly found together. “
The COLIBRI concept has allowed Winkel GmbH to open up new avenues that have been received very well. The principle is therefore now also applied on pallet SRMs. The benefits are the same here as well – accelerated pallet handling, while also achieving better storage space yield. This corresponds to the motto at Winkel GmbH "More space for improved performance. " The new energy chain systems from igus® create the conditions for this.