"Our workpiece carriers virtually withstand the elements of fire and water," says Hubl sales manager Thomas Stek with a smile. And indeed, one workpiece carrier model at an automotive supplier is moved into an oven where plastic housings are "baked" for several hours at 150° C and thus hermetically sealed. Another workpiece carrier is moved into a washing station at a biotech company so that glass bottles can be cleaned. But these are still relatively simple requirements to implement, says Stek. When it comes to developing customer- and product-specific products made of stainless steel, much more demanding requirements have to be met.
Flexibility is one of the biggest conditions here. For example, the workpiece carriers for a global player should be able to accommodate engine electronics housings, in seven variants for automated placement and removal by robots. Ideally, future model changes should also be taken into account in the workpiece holders, or at least be easy to adapt. The tolerance requirements are high. For example, the pallets must be free of distortion and level so that the plastic housings with the integrated electronic sensors can be reliably gripped. In the project business with series character, Hubl Edelstahltechnik worked closely with the manufacturer during the development phase. "With a project like this and the early involvement, we can find the ideal solution with our understanding of processes and parts," Stek emphasizes.
The requirement for a workpiece carrier for a biotech company was completely different. Set up in a stackable sheet metal basket, glass ampoules are automatically filled with high-quality liquids, transported, cleaned and sterilized. The task here was to achieve optimum drainage behavior for the cleaning liquid. In addition, the sheet metal parts must be perfectly rounded and deburred. This is because the pick-and-place operators' gloves must not be damaged under any circumstances. The fact that the loading cage must be able to accommodate different bottle sizes and heights in one loading operation was almost the easiest challenge. In addition, there are customer-specific and sometimes high requirements for flatness, dimensional accuracy, stability and sheet thickness.
Automation with high requirements
Hubl has now bundled its expertise in stainless steel sheet processing for the workpiece carrier sector, thus expanding its core competence. Here, the experts are ideally already in close contact with customers during the development phase. After that, the process continues up to prototype and series production in close coordination until the customer is satisfied. The result is innovative and high-quality products that are manufactured with process reliability and repeatability and are reliably delivered on time. To achieve this, all areas of Hubl Edelstahltechnik, from development and production to administration, work closely together and on short paths. For the area of stainless steel workpiece carriers, Hubl sees a growing demand due to ever-increasing requirements and automation. "Within the framework of Industry 4.0, higher demands are also being made on the accuracy and robustness of products," Stek concludes.
Stainless steel technology in perfection
Hubl Edelstahltechnik is a system supplier in high-quality sheet metal processing. With comprehensive know-how in product development, industrial design and production-related engineering, as well as their implementation in terms of production technology, the sheet metal specialists are called in by customers when it comes to housings and cladding made of stainless steel sheet in prototype construction, pre-series and small series.
The versatile demands placed on the stainless steel experts in this regard are also reflected in the industry structure of their customers. The Hubl Edelstahltechnik team supplies the most demanding industries such as pharmaceutical, medical and laboratory technology, biotechnology, clean room and food technology, the packaging industry as well as mechanical engineering and semiconductors.