What makes an efficient precast wall production line?
25 February 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202018072
ELEMATIC is well-known globally for hollow core technology but the company also has a strong product line for precast wall element production, with three ready layout concepts – the SEMI, PRO and EDGE – depending on the amount of automation and production capacity needed.
But there are many other solutions available. “We have a wide range of other layout options for different capacities which have been proven to perform well in many existing factories. Our strength lies in our customized wall production solutions,” said Toni Koitmaa, Product Director, Wall Technologies and the Finland-based company.
One device that seems to be making a huge difference in improving the efficiency of wall production lines is the central transfer wagon, especially when the product range includes both simple, fast moving elements and complex panels that require more production time.
“The central wagon moves the elements that take more time to be fabricated away from the main line so bottlenecks in production are avoided. This allows the elements that are fabricated faster to move forward and makes production very flexible,” Koitmaa said.
Pre-defined processes and proper documentation during the whole manufacturing process are important to ensure consistency in production and quality control.
“Table moulds, for example, are a long-term investment. You have to ensure that the moulds can support the requirements set for the wall element. Table moulds have to be flat and straight and must withstand the load placed on them without bending. It takes a lot of expertise to make mould tables within strict tolerances,” Koitmaa said.
The casting machine is another crucial piece of equipment. Elematic’s Comcaster is, in Koitmaa’s words, “unique, very accurate and fast,” while allowing for lower water-cement ratio. It can also cast stiffer grades of concrete than conventional casting machines and reduces surface finishing time.
Decreasing waste in the precast production process and improving cost-efficiency and safety are goals to keep in mind. “You can use half the usual amount of wood needed for table moulds, battery moulds and column- and pillar production by using the right shutter system. The FaMe system is comprised of push button magnets and aluminium side forms to replace wood and steel, which leads to substantial savings.”
Koitmaa added that the FaMe system was designed to improve work safety and lower the chances of finger injuries.
Battery moulds, which are used to cast solid load-bearing walls, can likewise have a big effect on efficiency. The cold shutter system, which is offered by very few equipment manufacturers in the industry, practically doubles the capacity of a standard battery mould.
By transferring the cold shutter plates to the battery mould after the previously cast elements has been taken out, the casting cycle is significantly accelerated. “The cold shutter system really speeds up the production cycle since only casting and hardening take place inside the battery mould. Using it is a great way to increase capacity,” Koitmaa said.
Digitalisation also goes a long way towards reaching peak efficiency. “Using digital systems can help you get the maximum capacity from precast lines by optimising the process at different stages of production, leading to faster delivery time and saving on resources,” Koitmaa said.