Intelligent waste removal enables significant CO2 savings

When Dutch workpiece manufacturer VDL Groep wanted to improve its aluminium recycling to increase efficiency and reduce energy usage, it turned to Kabelschlepp for a conveying solution.

Turning 20 tons of aluminium into a workpiece with a weight of 2 tons produces a lot of chips – which then have to be removed as quickly and reliably as possible to prevent jams and to meet the required production cycle times. This also helps the environment: the sorted recycling process for 18 tons of material saves 252,000 kWh of energy and corresponds to 92,000 kg of CO2 per workpiece, compared to producing it from primary aluminium.

The need to remove and recycle 95% swarf volume required an innovative concept. VDL consulted contacted Kabelschlepp at an early phase, during the planning of the workshop. This meant it was possible to include the removal system in the layout, which saved costs by avoiding subsequent interventions and interfering systems in the production area. After a detailed planning phase, a complex central chip removal system including container management was built in 2021. With its intelligent control, it offers an optimum contribution to the safety and functionality of the entire production plant. Overall, the order volume comes to around 1 million euros.

The workpieces manufactured by the VDL Group are required for producing state-of-the-art high-performance chips using an innovative process. But the Kabelschlepp conveying system is also modern and innovative: “We created a unique and absolutely individual system for several machines and materials, which also ensures cutting fluid processing and smooth container loading,” explains Michael Diebel, COO of Kabelschlepp. “Our approach was to consider the waste removal and the recycling loop as key components of the complete recycling value chain.”

Another special focus was placed on achieving the ideal balance between the processes and the machine controllers in close coordination with the customer. This is how the system becomes ‘smart’ and can make a substantial contribution to successful production of the special parts. The degree of automation of the interfaces makes it possible to remove containers for each truck without specific tools.

The customer benefits in multiple ways: there is only one solution partner for the complete waste removal process. Using the same modules in multiple ways also reduces the complexity of operation and maintenance. Last but not least, the uninterrupted, unmanned waste removal allows for a very fast return on investment). A spokesperson for VDL said: “The system has proven to be ideal in operation. Kabelschlepp has designed and implemented a system that fully meets our hight requirements.”


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