grauer hintergrund schmalergonomic storage rack from conveyor systems

Project 10

türkise pfleile nach rechts

Project 10

türkise pfleile nach rechts

Project 10

türkise pfleile nach rechts

Ergonomic storage rack

Delivery period: August 2017

The client: DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung GmbH, Werk Fulda
DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung GmbH, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, is a globally active company that offers maintenance services. Its customers include operating companies, leasing companies and manufacturers of rail vehicles and rail vehicle components. DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung GmbH operates 12 locations in Germany. The Fulda plant specialises in the repair of brake components for all types of rail vehicles.



  • Conveying Elements: Storage techniques
  • Convey Goods: Brake components with max. 100 kg per basket
  • Industry: Passenger and freight traffic / rail vehicles

The task

Production of a driven rotary system to be manually loaded with baskets, consisting of roller conveyors and rejectors.
The previous working principle at DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung: The employees had to wait until the required basket with reusable old parts was transported to them – quasi like in a rolling sushi restaurant. As before, the spare parts required for repair were to be collected and transported from a separate spare parts warehouse on a project-specific basis.

Of course we could have implemented the wishes of our client 1:1. But: Such a rotary system already existed, but for several reasons, such as wear and tear of the components, it had not proven itself. After an on-site inspection by our project team, we were not satisfied with a mere retrofit or new construction of the system. And we put our heads together with those of DB Instandhaltung employees to develop a better solution together.

production alfotec
production assembly of conveyor systems

The solution

an assembly line with automated transport to and from several repair and testing stations and the installation of storage racks for old and spare parts baskets
Together we developed a solution with the following challenges: The new assembly line had to meet ergonomic requirements, improve the occupational safety of the employees, reduce the error rate and optimize process safety. The individual work steps of storage, merging of old and new spare parts that can be reused, transport to the repair site, intermediate storage, transport to the test site and storage / provision of the finished repaired brake component* were to be automated as far as possible.

The conveying process in detail

In advance, the used brake modules are dismantled and the old parts that can no longer be used are disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. The reusable parts are cleaned in a washing plant. Now the new assembly line comes into play:

Storage of the still usable old parts
An individually marked basket with cleaned old parts is recorded by a member of staff in a computerised system at an entry point. He opens a transparent lifting gate and pushes the basket to a collection point. From there, the FlexShuttle transports the basket to the opposite storage rack, where spare parts are also stored.

Inspection of the repaired brake control
In principle, the same work steps are carried out here as for the repair itself. Only the work processes within the employee’s workplace are different. The system, which costs around 250,000 euros, is controlled by a network-compatible Siemes S7-1500 controller. The assembly line was connected to the internal DB in-house network by means of EDP technology so that the data of the conveyor system can be visualized web-based. We have to commission the new assembly line within the agreed period of two weeks without any problems and have it accepted by the customer.

Repair of the brake component
An employee requests the desired basket via a control panel. The FlexShuttle transports it to the staging area in front of the repair site. The employee pulls the basket through the lift gate to his workplace. He scans the basket and requests the basket containing the appropriate spare parts. This is transported and received in the same way as the old parts basket. The employee removes the spare parts and requests the return transport of the empty basket. He pushes it to the staging area, from where it is transported to the outfeed roller conveyor. From there the empty basket is picked up and taken to a central collection point. Afterwards the repair is carried out. Then the repaired brake component is transported by FlexShuttle from the staging area on the same route to the intermediate storage back to the opposite rack.

The customer benefit

  • Higher process reliability:
    Durch die EDV-technische Erfassung der gekennzeichneten Altteil- und Ersatzteilkörbe wurde die richtige Zuordnung und der Transport der für ein Projekt benötigten Teile zur Reparaturstelle automatisiert und die Fehlerquote minimiert.
  • Reduced risk of accidents:a
    Employees at the repair site no longer have direct or manual access to the baskets, which were previously transported automatically. They pull the required baskets from a non-driven protection zone of the system to their workplace.
  • Improved ergonomics:
    It is no longer necessary to walk along paths to pick up the spare parts baskets, which are sometimes difficult to carry, and the work is much less physically demanding for the employees and therefore less stressful for their backs.
  • Bigger storage capacity:
    Additional storage capacity was created and a buffer area for spare parts baskets was integrated
    Ihr Warenkorb
    Your shopping cart is empty.Back to shop