Despite several restrictions and high safety measures, Progress Maschinen and Automation, in close cooperation with the client, managed to set up the plant and provide a full service even during the pandemic. The message from Euro Steel was clear: Progress is a safe partner and will make this happen! Opened at the end of 2020, Euro Steel now looks to supply and support the construction industry beyond precast.
Australian precast industry reinforced with automation
Precast has always been a highly recognized construction method within the Australian construction industry. As the cost of labour increases, the construction industry constantly reviews the market for innovation and new technology to minimize onsite labour. For this purpose, the highly automated mesh welding plant was the first choice for Euro Steel.
The M-System mesh welding plant enables production of mesh up to N20 and the integrated bending system BGM allows for fully automated bending of the mesh into complete reinforcement cages. The main feature of the system is the ability to create mesh for precast solid walls through an automated process.
George Spiropoulos, Director of Euro Precast and Euro Steel, points out the importance of automation in the precast and reinforcement industry in Australia, “The mesh welding plant is a fantastic machine which allows production of larger bar meshes without the use of labour. The accuracy and quality of the product is something that labour cannot produce alone.”
M-System Mesh Welding Plant
Fully flexible production of tailored mesh containing any combination of lengths, widths, wire diameters, and pitches, are the key advantage of the M-System mesh welding plant. Consisting of three main components: the MMR straightening unit, the fully flexible welding gantry, and the BGM wire bending machine, the plant creates a continuous flow of production. Each phase of production is based at a separate workstation - working independently of one another but aligned through customized software.
The MMR straightening system with rotor straightening technology features 8 electrically-driven rotors, each equipped with five staggered straightening dies. The Progress rotor straightening technology ensures constant straightening results and exceptional processing quality of all steel types in compliance with even the most severe standards, thanks to the principle of using separate wire feeds per wire diameter. Wire changeover is performed fully automatic within a few seconds and all wire diameters are permanently clamped into their own rotor available just-in-time.
The additional BGM wire bending machine, which can work with wire-diameters up to 16 mm, is an efficient, flexible bending machine, electro-mechanically operated for automatic production of three-dimensional mesh, such as cages, to an exact size. The machine is equipped with a rapid clamping system for the removable of bent mesh.
The welding gantry is carrying out the mesh welding, which is computer controlled and thus assures precise welding in combination with efficient energy consumption. Euro Steel benefits from the many advantages of highly flexible mesh production: tailoring mesh to fit static requirements through variable bar placement and diameters; eliminating material waste; eliminating greatly reducing manpower requirements; reduction of lead times, logistical effort, and storage costs.
The process control system and the management software Profit from Progress Software Development (also member of the Progress Group), ensures optimal planning, control, and production. It allows for all the production jobs to be planned and monitored remotely. With the PTS test service unique to progress, every product can be tested in a virtual environment before sending it to the machine.
This is particularly valuable with complex products such as customized mesh and cages. In case of an error in the drawing, the software will recognize it and send a warning as well as suggestions on how to eliminate the error. This guarantees that no time is lost during the actual production process. With the stabos unit, which offers statistical information, production can be monitored even more efficiently, and long-term inefficiencies can be effectively eliminated.
The machine software controls the whole production process from the coil to the finished mesh and thus allows for minimal manpower to be used.
Challenging times lead into a bright future
“The overall experience with Progress has been exceptional. From the planning phase through to commissioning, the professionalism of the Progress team is amazing. Understanding the large financial investment in such machinery, it is important to know that a company supplies and supports its product in a way that the customer is left satisfied,” says Spiropoulos, and adds, “Progress has done this for me and the business.”