As a system supplier for automation technology, Schnaithmann Maschinenbau GmbH also develops production systems for the automotive industry. Well-known manufacturers of vehicles and components have been using assembly and handling technology, material flow and conveyor systems from Schnaithmann for many years. The company from Remshalden near Stuttgart supplies flexible systems for production and assembly to meet the increasing demand for electromobility.
Although the combustion engine is not yet a phased-out model, more and more manufacturers are turning to emission-free drives. "Trends and industry tendencies are our daily business," says company founder Karl Schnaithmann. "Globalization, demographic change and the challenges of climate change have a major impact on industrial production and assembly."
Whether in the production and assembly of electronic components, batteries, fuel cells, driver assistance systems, chassis control systems or electric motors for cars, commercial vehicles, scooters and e-bikes, especially in electromobility with its sensitive components, the demands on production are increasing. In many cases, standard production processes cannot be transferred to the far more complex manufacturing process. One example is fuel cells, where constant temperature and humidity and even a clean room with filtered air are required for production. "We attach great importance to the technical cleanliness of our products," says Christian Betz, Key Account Manager and Marketing Manager at Schnaithmann. "This starts with development and continues throughout the entire value chain."
Flexibility through modular design
Regardless of the function and task of the production plant, Schnaithmann offers modular and therefore flexible products from individual profiles to intelligently linked conveyor systems and fully automatic assembly lines. "We are noticing a trend towards a high number of variants. Many of our solutions therefore offer a high degree of automation combined with maximum flexibility," says Schnaithmann. "The modular design of our systems enables machine solutions that are safe for investment. Depending on requirements, our production lines can be supplemented, modified or reused at any time. Betz adds: "Reacting flexibly to changes in the production process begins as early as the planning stage of the products and systems. Thanks to a high degree of standardization and the consistent division into separate assemblies, units can be recombined at any time in engineering and production. This creates new solutions with a high degree of reuse of standard assembly units and components".
People and machine
"The interaction between man and machine will continue to be an exciting topic for us," says Schnaithmann. "In the mobility of tomorrow, the cooperation between man and robot will become increasingly important." Especially in assembly processes in automobile production, ergonomically unfavorable movements often occur. Combined human-robot workstations can be useful here. For manual workplaces, the Remshalden-based company offers modular worker assistance systems with robot connection and motion detection, which ensure greater process reliability right up to zero-error production. "Whether worker guidance systems or highly complex solutions for machine data acquisition corresponding to the PLC controls", says Betz, "we constantly question the changing market conditions and adapt to them with optimized or new products and processes".
CO2 neutral future
In order to identify potential savings in energy consumption, empirical values from conveyor systems and chains already implemented at Schnaithmann play an important role. "We investigate areas such as energy recovery or shutdown management for downtimes and adapt them to the customer's conditions," says Betz. "We are also further developing our own products with regard to CO2 compatibility and use energy-saving drive components". The aim of the Remshalden-based automation specialists is a fully electric conveyor system. A first step in this direction is a purely electrically operated lift-transverse unit for deflecting workpiece carriers. It replaces previously used pneumatic components and also simplifies applications in clean room environments. The long-term goal is a CO2-neutral future not only for mobility but also for production.