Efficient automation solutions for the concrete pipe industry

The main objective is to stay one step ahead and provide solutions as soon as the market signals new requirements. The BSM is an innovative cage welding machine made by mbk that has been continuously refined. It offers various customisable automation solutions to ensure efficient and economical day-to-day production. These customisable automation solutions are an important step towards the future, where excellence and competitiveness play an even greater role.

Customers attach great importance to high quality, maximum performance and low staff costs. Easy integration into existing production environments, low maintenance requirements and fast response times in the event of service are equally important. A machine manufacturer must meet these requirements.

Considerable savings in materials and manufacturing processes can be achieved due to the versatile customisation options of the machines. Customised automation solutions are an integral part of mbk Maschinenbau GmbH’s everyday business. The company develops, designs and implements modern concepts for the reinforcing steel, precast concrete, manhole and concrete pipe industries at its headquarters in Kisslegg. The BSM cage welding machine features innovative technology and modular design and offers various automation solutions.

The proven BSM cage welding machine is becoming increasingly important in the manhole and concrete pipe industry. It is used to produce reinforcement cages in various designs, such as round cages (straight or with spigot end and bell/ socket), double cages (outer and inner cage) arranged alternately behind each other, oval, egg-shaped, maul-shaped or even special shapes such as round-oval-round (ROR) or oval-oval-oval (OOO). Depending on the machine type, eight different sizes are currently available. The cage diameters that can be produced range from 220 to 5,200 mm.

Image 1: High speed cage welding machine BSM-190-R

Image 2: BSM-190-R with automatic longitudinal wire feeder (ALZ-M)

Image 3: Automatic longitudinal wire feeder (ALZ-M) with integrated wire straightening and cutting machine

The fully automated BSM-190-R cage welding machine can produce cages with lengths of up to 7,000 mm. Other lengths are possible on request.

This machine excels in reliability, stability and longevity. According to the manufacturer, the machine offers high productivity at low maintenance and energy costs. Due to their precise manufacturing tolerances, very accurate and straight cages are produced. The BSM also complies with various standards and is therefore particularly suitable for daily use.

Companies are under constant pressure to improve their production processes. Customised automation solutions can help to optimise the value chain. mbk offers interesting automation solutions for the BSM cage welding machine. These range from simple automation accessories to fully automatic production lines with buffer solutions and transfer of the reinforcement to the downstream pipe machine.

Wire straightening and cutting machine (DRA)

The wire straightening and cutting machine (DRA) is used for the production of longitudinal wires. There are different versions of the DRA, from simple single straightening and cutting machines (DRA-C and DRA-E) to multiple wire straightening and cutting machines (DRA-M). These plants can straighten, cut and bend reinforcing wire with diameters from 4 to 20 mm. Optional additional features such as the automatic connection to the cage welding machines further facilitate the production process.

Automatic longitudinal wire feeding

An automatic longitudinal wire feeder can automatically feed the longitudinal wires for the cage. This is done either with pre-cut longitudinal wires from a magazine that can be filled with up to one tonne of material (type ALZ-B) or alternatively via an integrated wire straightening and cutting machine directly from the coil (type ALZ-C). The longitudinal bars are fed individually and one after the other, which means that these variants also permit the placement of non-round products such as ovals or egg shapes.

The latest version of the automatic longitudinal wire feeder (type ALZ-M, patented) allows feeding of all required longitudinal wires in one step, fully automatically and independent of the cage diameters that can be produced. The wires are already inserted during cage removal, which reduces the machine downtimes in the production process to a minimum.

Automatic winding wire changing system

The automatic winding wire change system (type AWDW, patented) allows changing between up to five different wire diameters. It consists of winding wire reels for the different diameters and a wire changing unit with an automatic wire

Image 4: BSM-190-R with automatic longitudinal wire feed (ALZ-M) and winding wire changing system (AWDW)

cutter and feed unit. The automatic wire cutter cuts the wire during cage production, which further reduces the cycle time compared to conventional cutters. The feed unit guides the next active wire up to the welding roller to make it available for the production of the following cage. The welding carriage is further equipped with an automatic adjustment of the welding and contact roller for automatic adjustment of the welding roller stroke and compensation of different wire thicknesses and wear.

With the winding wire change system, inner and outer cages can be produced alternately with optimised wire diameters. Also, cages can be serially provided in different sizes, for example for pipe machines that alternately produce different pipe diameters.

Cage removal device and cage removal and joining device

After the production of the cage, there are various solutions for their automated removal and handling. The cage removal device (KEG) is available in various designs for removing and depositing reinforcement.

Image 5: Cage removal robot (KFG) in operation at the customer’s site

Image 6: Cage removal with cage feeding function (KFG)

It meets a wide range of requirements, from a single to multiple parking positions. Depending on the stage of expansion, it also offers the loading of buffer and conveyor belts.

The cage removal and joining device (KFG) is also used to remove, place and join double reinforcements (outer and inner cage). Like the KEG system, it features several set-down positions and the loading of buffer and conveyor belts.

With transport and buffer solutions, reinforcement can be buffered and safely transferred to the pipe machine. This compensates for different cycle times and the cage welding machine can produce continuously, even if the cages are removed intermittently. Due to the automated transfer to the downstream pipe machine, a virtually unmanned production is possible.

Image 7: Cage removal with conveyor belt and buffer solution

The machine control and the software solutions it offers are state of the art. The connection of the machine software to the office not only facilitates the creation and evaluation of production lists, but also the recording of machine parameters and settings as well as the backup and analysis of production data.

For existing machines with different requirements depending on age and type, a range of automation solutions can be offered individually.

Online hotline service and customer support is image-guided and secure. Innovative systems such as augmented and assisted reality help to carry out efficient maintenance and repairs.