STROTHMANN installs rail-based assembly line at KION

  • October 16, 2012
  • Case Study

October 16, 2012 - STROTHMANN implemented a rail-based assembly line with integrated lifting platforms at KION Warehouse Systems in Reutlingen, Germany. The project is based on STROTHMANN’s patented RoundTrack technology featuring especially smoothly and quietly running rollers made of ball bearing steel. KION Warehouse Systems has been producing order pickers in flow assembly for years. However, while cranes used to be the only mode of transport for moving the three-ton vehicles from station to station, now they are only needed to lift the order pickers onto the trolleys at the start of the line. Subsequently, the trolleys are pushed along manually.

The marked reduction in crane usage has increased work safety. Simultaneously, non-value-added handling effort has been minimized and ergonomics have been improved. In cooperation with KION, handling and logistics expert STROTHMANN has tailored the rail transport concept to the customer’s requirements.

Three hydraulic lifting platforms were embedded in the floor. The trolleys are simply rolled onto the platforms at the work stations, fixed, and – still standing on the tracks – lifted along with the payload. The height can be freely adjusted. In the elevated position, the trolleys are secured against rolling away by a locking lever. The platforms are lowered by the load alone.

The system has been tested and approved for safe operation. Another lifting platform at the end of the line can be lowered below floor level, allowing the order pickers to drive out of the line on their own wheels. Moreover, the customer project resulted in newly designed combined rail trolleys and rolling pallets: STROTHMANN fitted them with an extra set of rubber wheels suitable for maneuvering the hall floor which can be lowered by operating a pneumatic foot pedal.

This feature allows for trolleys to be easily fed into the manufacturing line and moved from the line end back to the first station. KION also uses these trolleys-turned-rolling-pallets to transport light frame parts from the paint shop to the line. The combined innovations to the RoundTrack system have further increased its flexibility and reduced the purchase costs. The integration of lifting platforms, for instance, allows KION to use lower-cost trolleys.

Company Background Based in Schloss Holte-Stukenbrock, Germany, STROTHMANN Machines & Handling GmbH provides automation solutions for mechanical engineering, automotive industry, aircraft assembly, wind energy industry, and other sectors. With a service range that includes the branches PressRoomAutomation, IndustrialAutomation, and ProductionLogistics, STROTHMANN develops and integrates entire new press lines and assembly lines as well as modernization projects in order to optimize production processes throughout the value added chain. Founded in 1976, the company offers a comprehensive program of handling technologies with a special focus on linear robots. STROTHMANN’s RoundTrack technology, a rail system suitable for the shop floor, enables ideal logistics solutions particularly in heavy load applications. STROTHMANN belongs to the Siempelkamp Group and has sales partners on three continents, sales and service offices in North and South America, and a subsidiary in China.


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