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HawkeyePedershaab: Automation propels dry, wet cast plants into the future

The recent merger with Blaubeuren, Germany-based BFS, a key pipe and manhole machinery manufacturer, positions HawkeyePedershaab Concrete Technology as a leader in precast plant automation solutions, while adding equipment for pressure pipe, prestressed pole, plus block & paver production.

HawkeyePedershaab presents Prima as a cutting-edge production management system programmed to bring assembly line efficiency to wet cast concrete. Traditional setups in such operations make it nearly impossible to drive productivity because there are too many variables and no process flow to be tracked, measured, and optimized. In contrast to traditional configurations around stationary forms, Prima introduces a system where forms automatically circulate in a loop through specialized work stations: stripping, cleaning and oiling, steel placement, filing, and ultimately curing. It uses RFID tags and readers positioned on carrier pallets and throughout the plant to track the operations and relay expected process times, reinforcement and filling requirements—allowing operators to prepare and efficiently execute the necessary operations for each form. Prima also tracks the time consumed for each form, which exposes bottlenecks and gives the manager information to improve processes.

The system takes safety to the next level by eliminating the need for fork lift trucks in the production area as well as overhead transport of products or mix buckets. System data enables the plant manager to build a production plan that is realistic and feasible, and coordinate the que to optimize throughput while balancing manpower demand. Prima is the ideal automation solution for precasters who work with standard wet cast products as well as made-to-order concrete products, HawkeyePedershaab engineers affirm.

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BFS brings HawkeyePedershaab automation for dry cast production, embodied in the Souveraen machine and Floortrac moving floor.
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HawkeyePedershaab has tailored the Prima production management system to impart assembly line efficiency in wet cast operations.
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BFS WORKHORSE

The Souveraen from BFS, they add, anchors a fully automatic production line yielding high quality concrete pipe with a single operator. The powerhouse machine produces pipe with an inside diameter of 10 to 63 inches (250–1,600 mm); near-perfect, smooth finishes; and, reinforcement up to the spigot end. The Souveraen can mold socket concrete pipe; reinforced or plain concrete pipe with integrated lifting and transport anchors; pre-bed pipe; and, jacking pipe.

Similar to Prima, the wet cast automation solution, the Souveraen is computer assisted in the entire production cycle. The technology provides the optimal solution to create variable pipe sizes with consistent quality. The main drive system is powered by frequency controlled electric motors together with a spur gear transmission, which results in exact speeds and torque for optimal compaction results. The system also delivers energy cost savings to plant owners and minimizes noise. Its mix feeding technology calculates the amount of concrete needed for production through the control system and feeds precise material quantities at target rates to the production process. The Souveraen’s compaction system uses a BFS-patented tool, and its roller-head technology guarantees no uncompacted areas.

The Souveraen creates intelligent products, HawkeyePedershaab officials note. Reinforced and non-reinforced concrete pipes are produced with fully automated installation of lifting and transport anchors. Base ring pallets and reinforcement cages are automatically inserted. Base ring pallets are automatically cleaned, oiled, stored and prepared for production by the BFS-Puma. Users seeking full automation can deploy the BFS-open-floor-system Robotrac or automatic moving-floor-system Floortrac.

Automation solutions improve plant productivity; increase safety; track and record production information to spot bottlenecks; and, enable plant managers to better plan for output needs—all while reducing labor demands. HawkeyePedershaab Concrete Technologies, Mediapolis, Iowa, 319/394-3197; www.hpct.com