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"Our system solutions are used everywhere"
Beckum, 05. June 2019

Interview with Andrea Prevedello, Global Sales Director CL-Systems of BEUMER Group:

At bauma in Munich BEUMER Group provided information on their system solutions expertise for the mining and raw materials industries and port handling. The portfolio includes curved belt conveyors, blending bed systems as well as ship loaders. Andrea Prevedello explains in the interview how users can benefit from BEUMER Group as a partner and which trends they can expect. Andrea Prevedello is Global Sales Director CL Systems of BEUMER Group.

Mr Prevedello, at bauma you provided information on overland conveyors and Pipe Conveyors. Can you tell us a bit more about a current project?

Andrea Prevedello: What immediately comes to my mind is this very exciting project in the Belgian town of Flémalle. A coal-fired power plant was operated here in the past. The coal residues are landfilled on a fly ash stockpile. We installed a Pipe Conveyor to transport the fly ash to the Maas river for shipment. Its enclosed design prevents the volatile material from coming into contact with the environment and enables a low-noise transport to the destination. This was very important as the system runs over public motorways, railways and residential areas. The transport of the fly ash is carried out in strict compliance with safety standards, taking into consideration environmental protection and the effect of noise pollution on the local residents. It is planned to dissipate the entire stockpile within the next ten years, and repurpose the terrain into a nature park.

What were the challenges during this project, for example with regard to the installation of the system?

Andrea Prevedello: The installation presented itself as quite a challenge, in this picturesque, but also quite hilly environment and as the Pipe Conveyor runs over roads, rails and residential areas we had to comply with public regulations. We set up three teams. We needed a safe conveying system design, that would prevent any environmental impact and noise pollution during the bulk material transport. In the first team employees of the local authorities worked in close cooperation with our experts. The second team was made up of ten BEUMER Group employees that assembled the system. Special cranes and helicopters were used for the assembly work. We assigned the third team for this: the Heliswiss International AG from Küssnacht, Switzerland. They provide transport and construction flights with heavy lift helicopters. Extremely precise flight manoeuvres were necessary so that the technicians could safely assemble the elements suspended from the helicopter to the steel structure. The pilots had to guide the components exactly to the bore holes of the connecting piece so that team II could then bolt them together. The BEUMER Group employees were working on platforms attached to cranes in heights of up to 45 metres. It was quite a sight!

How can you ensure that the customers always receive the best solution that allows them to remain sustainably competitive?

Andrea Prevedello: An essential feature of our transport solutions is that they enable horizontal and vertical curves. This permits us to adapt the sections to the optimum route and we dont't have to use straight line sections to build around obstacles. Angles of inclination of up to 15 degrees are possible, depending on the characteristics of the material to be transported and the topography, with lengths of more than twelve kilometres. Due to the ability to navigate curves, considerably fewer and in some cases no transfer towers are required. The customer gets an ideal solution which allows for substantial cost savings and the system continuously transports the material even over challenging ascending sections and downward slopes - this was a great advantage especially in Flémalle. Using BEUMER calculation programs, we precisely calculate the static and dynamic tractive forces of the belt during the development phase. This is the prerequisite for the safe dimensioning of the curves. BEUMER Group selects the required types of drive technology and conveyor belts based on these calculations. This ensures longevity of the entire system.

Would there also have been alternative possibilities for this task, using trucks for example?

Andrea Prevedello: Mine operators and manufacturers of cement and building materials often rely on trucks for the transport bulk material, even over long distances. These vehicles certainly also have their justification. However, depending on the terrain, they can rapidly reach their limits: they require well-developed roads and fuel, for example and the costs for the construction, maintenance and possible extensions are significant. The ecological aspect needs to be considered as well: new roads and access roads have a serious impact on the landscape. And this was to be avoided especially in the area around Liège with small villages along the Maas river as well as forests and unique landscapes. In addition, there are the emissions caused by truck traffic, which includes toxic substances as well as noise and dust.

Our belt conveyors are provided with environmentally safe electric drives and low-energy belts. The installed motors are mostly adjustable which permits the loads to be optimally distributed on the drive units under various operating conditions. If the belt conveying system conveys downhill, the system works in generative operation. The generated electric energy is fed back into the public network by a regenerative feedback unit. Depending on the project, our belt conveying systems require up to 90 percent less primary energy than comparable truck transports. Users often reduce their operating costs by several million euros per year. If you do not know which solution to choose, a cost comparison will help.

As a system provider you also have stockpile equipment in your portfolio. What does the scope of supply look like, how do you support the operators?

Andrea Prevedello: For this stockpile equipment, we offer the full range of stackers and scraper reclaimers. These can cover different functions as for example simple storage or mixing of the bulk material, and ensure a maximum mixing effect. Users can also efficiently homogenise different bulk material qualities which ensures the uniformity of the raw materials used. My colleagues carry out the entire engineering of the system. They calculate the storage dimensions and provide the design and static calculations of the associated storehouses. The blending beds are customised according to the requirements. BEUMER proposes either longitudinal or circular stockpile designs. The recommended design shape results from the spatial conditions and the amount of the material to be stored. Additionally, BEUMER provides material-specific detailed solutions with robust and low-wear equipment. The environmental impacts are also very low as minimal noise and dust occurs during operation.

In what industries are your solutions needed?

Andrea Prevedello: This can vary a lot, because our system solutions are used wherever you need to transport large quantities of bulk material. This is particularly true for the ore and raw materials industry, but also applies to applications beyond these traditional sectors, such as the transport of cereals. In ports, for example, we ensure that different materials are efficiently loaded onto ships.

What is particularly important when it comes to these loading systems?

Andrea Prevedello: The mobile and swivel-mounted ship loaders have a telescopic chute and a throw-off belt conveyor to make loading as efficient and flexible as possible. The ship loader is also equipped with a dedusting unit which keeps the process emission-free. We also offer bulk loading heads which are used to load bulk materials into silo vehicles quickly and without dust. Special fill level indicators are used, tailored to the bulk density, flow characteristics and temperature of the loaded cargo.

Due to rising living standards, especially in emerging countries and the expansion of key and future technologies, there is a growing demand for most raw materials. How will this development affect plant construction in general?

Andrea Prevedello: The prices for raw materials such as iron ore and copper are rising rapidly. This is why we notice that a lot of companies are willing to invest. In order to cover the increasing demand, there is an overall trend towards larger tonnages and throughputs since larger manufacturing facilities are more efficient. Many users don't want to set up several parallel systems, but want to cover their entire requirements with one line or a minimum number of lines. This trend has a considerable impact on how we develop our systems.

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Economic transportation of cement clinker
Beckum, 29. April 2019

BEUMER Group offers robust belt apron conveyors

Robust apron conveyors (SZFs) are used in cement plants to transport clinker safely and economically from the kiln cooling system to the silos. BEUMER Group is the only manufacturer who offers a special variant, the belt apron conveyor (GSZF): Using a belt instead of a chain as traction element allows higher speeds and a slimmer design while still delivering the same level of performance. The GSZF is therefore particularly suitable for modernisations.

In general, the clinker comes out of the cooler at 80 degrees plus ambient temperature. But during the process, a so-called kiln flash can occur caused by a raw meal flash from the preheater tower or by caked clinker coming off the kiln: Within a few seconds several tons of raw meal or clinker shoot through the cooler. The material to be conveyed cannot cool down sufficiently and reaches the conveyor at temperatures of 500 to 800 degrees Celsius.

With its apron conveyors, BEUMER Group provides robust and reliable solutions. The specific design of the cells allows safe, low-friction transportation of any hot material. Sealed and overlapping side walls and bottom plates in the cells prevent the clinker from exiting and minimise the escape of dust. The traction element in this conveyor is usually a single or double strand sprocket chain. The system supplier is the only manufacturer on the market who offers apron conveyors with the tried and tested BEUMER steel wire belts from the bucket elevator technology instead of a chain as traction element. Here the cells are attached to the long-lasting, steel-wire reinforced belt in a way so that the heat of the clinker in the steel cells is not transferred to the belt. Partition plates are attached in the feeding area below the cooler and can be easily removed for maintenance, protecting the belt against hot clinker in case of a kiln flash.

One decisive advantage of the belt apron conveyor: with speeds of 0.6 metres per second, it can reach double the conveying speed compared to apron conveyors with a chain. This makes it perfect for retrofitting and modernisations. If operators want to increase the kiln capacity for example, they can replace an existing chain apron conveyor with a belt version of the same size – this means double the capacity without having to make any changes to the steel structure or the conveyor bridge. The cement plants also benefit from a new construction application: The thinner, lighter design of the GSZF reduces costs for steel structure and freight. Furthermore, the decreased net weight lowers the static and dynamic loads which affect the clinker silo and foundations for example. A new construction project can be designed for a smaller load and is therefore more cost-effective to build. The lightweight design also lowers operational costs.

Quiet, low in maintenance, reliable

The entire belt lies with its surface on the drive and return pulley which avoids the unwanted polygon effects caused by the chain. The particularly smooth running of the machine also reduces noise emissions considerably. The noise is less than half as loud as conventional SZFs with chains, which is advantageous for both the employees and the environment.

The use of the durable BEUMER steel wire belt lowers the maintenance costs, and extends maintenance intervals. Chains can break, if preventive maintenance is not performed properly, which will lead to the conveyor collapsing. The rubber of the steel wire belt only becomes brittle with age, but it would never completely break. Lubrication is also not required for the belt, whereas used frequently on a chain, if for no other reason than to reduce noise levels. Grease and oil are not only a cost factor, but also detrimental to the environment and the conveyor. The clinker dust gets stuck on it and settles in the chain links, which accelerates the wear and tear.

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BEUMER Group’s tote-based baggage handling solution the preferred choice for Kuwait City’s iconic Terminal 2 international airport project
Aarhus, 09. April 2019

Kuwait International Airport has opted for a tote-based baggage handling system for its iconic new Terminal 2 airport project, which brings together the best of contemporary design and technology. Once operational, it will bring Kuwait to the forefront of global aviation.

The BEUMER Group, a leading global supplier of automated baggage handling systems (BHS), is providing the bespoke BHS based on its technology range. Designed specifically to meet the various demands of the new hub, which includes fast transfer times, the new system will incorporate industry-leading technology such as in-tote hold baggage screening (HBS) and an 1800-position early baggage storage (EBS) CrisStore® function.

The new terminal’s state-of-the-art BHS with the CrisBag® system, will overcome various challenges through the use of BEUMER Group’s advanced high and low-level control system, which will be key to ensuring a flexible and reliable performance when handling major baggage flows.

Explaining Kuwait’s decision to build one of the world’s most innovative and advanced airports, Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem al-Humoud al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), says that the new USD 12 billion mega-hub will meet the rapid growth in air traffic in the region.

In a statement released last year at the Kuwait Investment Forum, he predicted, "Kuwait will witness a rapid growth in passenger and cargo movements in the coming 20 years. To keep pace with this growth, the DGCA has also revamped the existing airport through a number of projects, such as the construction of the new passenger Terminal 2.”

Given Kuwait Airport’s strategic location, the new airport, which is scheduled to be completed by 2022, is expected to serve as the region’s leading hub for traffic flowing between Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East.

The new passenger terminal will have the capacity to handle 25 million passengers per year and accommodate all aircraft types through 51 gates and stands. Kuwait airport has contracted the BEUMER Group’s Middle East Customer Support Team to provide ongoing residential maintenance functions, with BEUMER Group specialists responsible for all day to day functions of the CrisBag® operation.

Klaus Toftgaard, CEO of BEUMER Group Middle East, applauds this decision, pointing out that this is by far and away the best strategy for the owner of a technologically-advanced BHS to ensure optimum efficiency. He stresses “this is now the solution being adopted by leading global airports, since it draws upon the in-depth knowledge of the system’s designer and builder to ensure that the system will continue to run smoothly, even in the most challenging environments.”

The Ministry of Public Works Kuwait is leading this prestigious project with Foster and Partners in association with Gulf Consult as the designers and Limak Insaat as the main contractor.

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BEUMER Group’s baggage handling system plays important role in the smooth running of Singapore Changi Airport’s baggage operations
Aarhus, 26. March 2019

Changi Airport Group’s (CAG) recently released 2018 performance figures make for impressive reading. The multi-award-winning airport is now handling more than 65 million passenger movements annually.

Behind the scenes, BEUMER Group’s BHS plays a key role in ensuring the overall smooth handling of passengers’ baggage.

"Changi Airport first put its trust in our baggage handling technology in 1998,” says BEUMER Group Managing Director, Klaus Schäfer. He explains that the airport has deployed BEUMER’s baggage handling system in Terminals 2, 3 and 4, and over the years, has also extended the relationship by having BEUMER undertake year-round operational and maintenance support of the BHS as part of the overall care package.

The confidence placed in BEUMER’s technology by CAG has paid off.

Significantly, the company continues to deliver industry leading BHS reliability using the same number of personnel as when the contract first started in 2001. Furthermore, they have put in some truly noteworthy performances.

While the number of bags handled across the whole airport doubled in the last five years, the number of staff employed by BEUMER remained the same. With an average increase of 26,000 bags processed each day, BEUMER’s expertise ensured that the BHS could handle the rising demand on capacity and continued to run smoothly.

BEUMER Customer Support Director, Finn Laugesen, is in no doubt as to why Changi Airport’s BHS can operate so reliably, "We build long term relationships with our customers, so we genuinely understand their needs and are thus able to deliver the required performance. As a direct result of customer understanding, we have demonstrated that peak loads on the system don’t require extra staff. Instead, by combining meticulous planning and rigorous on-going system checks we are able to avoid any surprises.”

He adds that in terms of passenger satisfaction, Changi Airport continues to receive awards.

CAG's Vice President for BHS, Ng Hoe Seng also acknowledges the success of the BHS relies on the strength of the operational relationship between the two companies, " The BEUMER Group has invested time and effort to understand our requirements. They play an important part in our operational ready acceptance tests, most recently at Terminal 4, where the new BHS began operations successfully and on-time, after extensive testing prior to the opening. This included BEUMER Group processing over a million bags in addition to the training of all ground personnel".

The original contract was followed by the installation of a CrisBag system in Terminal 3 which undertakes dual baggage sorting and inter-terminal transfer baggage, linking to Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

Terminal 4, also benefits from the BEUMER Group technology, having its own dedicated CrisBag tote-based system.

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The right packaging
Beckum, 05. March 2019

BEUMER Group supplies entire packaging lines tailor-made for each customer from one single source:

BEUMER Group supplies packaging lines and complementing intralogistics solutions customised to its users and their requirements from one single source. Serving the cement, construction and chemical industries, consumer goods market and logistics sector, the extensive product range features modular designs. One of its customers is the German retail store dm-drogerie markt GmbH & Co. KG, with its logistics centre in Weilerswist near Cologne.

When BEUMER Group installs packaging lines in the (petro)chemical industry, the process may resemble this: bulk materials from the chemical industry are transported from the silo via a conveyor line to the form fill seal system BEUMER fillpac FFS. This highly efficient filling machine forms a ready-made PE tubular film into a bag and fills it with the customer's engineering plastics such as PE, PP, PA or PS granules. Reliable, gentle and sustainable filling is also possible for salts or fertilisers. The bags are then weighed before the filling process. For this, the BEUMER fillpac FSS is equipped with an electronic calibration-capable weighing unit. It ensures that the system fills the bags with a constant quantity of material within the specified tolerances. Then the system seals the bags with a weight of up to 25 kg. It can process 2,600 bags per hour.

For the efficient filling of paper bags with bulk material, particularly cement and construction materials, the system provider offers the BEUMER fillpac R. These systems function reliably, carefully and sustainably while meeting the required throughput. The construction series is equipped with a special weighing unit as well. Depending on the requirements and on the material characteristics such as bulk density, grain size, material density or flow behaviour, BEUMER Group can offer both air and impeller filling machines from the construction series BEUMER fillpac R. The air filling machines are suitable for bagging pourable and coarse-grained products with particle sizes up to ten millimetres, whereas the impeller technology is suited for free flowing and fine-grained products like cement or gypsum. Adding the BEUMER bag placer and a ream magazine to the system makes the filling even more efficient.

Proper and stable stacks on pallets

The filled bags, which are made of different materials like paper, PE or PP and have different sizes, weights and designs (flat valve bags or valve bottom bags), have to be stacked on pallets in a stable and precise way. For this, BEUMER Group offers the BEUMER paletpac. It can be quickly assembled thanks to its modular design, is easily accessible for maintenance, can be operated intuitively and flexibly adapted to different packing patterns. Depending on the product requirements, the BEUMER paletpac can be equipped with a clamp-type or twin-belt turning device which positions the bags smoothly, quickly and exactly. For palletising cartons, boxes, canisters or trays, BEUMER Group offers the BEUMER robotpac. This space-saving, fully automatic articulated robot solves complex palletising and de-palletising challenges reliably and efficiently. The user receives gripping systems suitable for all types of packaged goods, which can be easily exchanged.

Reliable packaging of dm drugstore products

The BEUMER stretch hood high capacity packaging system is at the heart of the packaging lines. It covers the mixed pallet of merchandise with a highly elastic film hood. This can be filled and palletised bags, boxes of detergent, buckets of paint or storage jars. During transshipment and outside storage, the merchandise is protected reliably against environmental influences such as sunlight, dirt and humidity. This is important for the operators who need their products to be transported reliably and in perfect condition to the customers, products like those from dm-drogerie markt GmbH & Co. KG.

The drugstore chain has its own distribution centres, one in Waghäusel in the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg, and one in Weilerswist near Cologne in North Rhine-Westphalia. Here, the employees pre-package cardboard goods for the stores. In Weilerswist, there is also the so-called small parts distribution centre. Here, small and individual products that cannot be securely stored on pallets are packaged in containers and cardboard boxes, and then commissioned, palletised and shipped. Both distribution centres have a combined product range of 12,800 items.

Secure pallet protection

Up to 3,000 pallets of goods arrive in Weilerswist daily. They are registered and checked. They are then transported over a conveyor line to two fully automated high-bay storage facilities. Empty pallets move along 42 aisles on overhead tracks and automated guided vehicle systems. A light signal indicates which product, and how many, are to be placed on the pallet. The merchandise must be secured and protected, so that it arrives at the dm stores in perfect condition. Therefore, high demands are placed on the packaging systems. Two high-capacity BEUMER stretch hood machines are in operation. They package 90 pallets each per hour, but are designed for 100 pallets. Lorries bring the shops their goods approximately 72 hours after ordering.

Playing with colours

The systems run perfectly. The smooth surface of the film hood increases the visibility of the palletised merchandise and the BEUMER stretch hood provides considerably higher levels of availability compared to stretch wrappers; another bonus: they have more colours than other packaging systems. At dm's request, they were painted in several colours. So they fit in the coherent colour scheme of the entire distribution centre: the basic colours yellow, orange, blue and purple run through the entire design. The unique design was created by STOLLSTEINERart&business. The idea behind it is that the colours signal to the employees that all working steps are interlinked.

Like a second skin

Another solution for protecting the bags against environmental factors is the BEUMER bag-in-bag: This system packages one or several filled paper bags quickly and reliably with a weather-resistant plastic film. This ensures that the contents are perfectly protected against moisture, dust or insect infestation when they are transported or stored.
Furthermore, the system provider equips all systems of a line with the same Human Machine Interface (HMI). This operator panel provides users with an easily understandable and intuitive interaction concept, enabling them to define efficient working sequences.

And there is more at the end of this packaging line: With system solutions of BEUMER Group, the full pallets or individual bags can be forwarded to a connected warehouse or directly to the loading space of a truck. The system components are mainly transport technologies such as conveyors or vehicle-based systems. Various solutions for handling and manipulators such as robots, buffer and storage modules are available as well. As BEUMER Group always uses components from a modular system, the solutions can be expanded at any time and can grow with the customer's needs.

Software based on modular design

For best results and to ensure full material and data tracking, the filling, palletising and packaging components as well as other system components must be perfectly matched. For this, BEUMER Group has developed the modular BG Software Suite as superior data processing system. It can be adapted individually to particular tasks and products from other companies can be easily integrated. Users can extend this solution at any time and optimise their material flows. The cross-program user interface BG Fusion shows process data and reports. All available data can be accessed without having to switch between different applications.

With the BEUMER Group warehouse control system the BG Software Suite can be easily connected to the warehouse management system or the customer's ERP solution. This way, BEUMER Group ensures the communication between the different control levels for the user. BEUMER can create an intelligent connection between the individual systems, and integrate them into existing process and inventory control systems of the customer.

Online data access at any time

BEUMER Group has developed the new Operation Monitoring app.  With this application for mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets, the user or the management has an overview on all relevant key figures of the complete packaging line or individual systems. The app shows the status quo of availability, performance and quality levels as well as the energy and compressed-air consumption. This ensures efficient operation of all systems. Customers can adopt the program to their specific requirements. For a better organisation and control of their logistics value chain, the task is to integrate all participants, systems, machines, and products in one dynamic system – horizontally and vertically. Thanks to this increasing networking, highly linked system structures are possible, in line with the ideas of Industry 4.0.

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Beumer-PCL Awarded GTAA Baggage 2025 Master Agreement
Aarhus, 31. January 2019

Toronto, Ontario (January 31, 2019)PCL Construction, one of the largest contracting organizations in North America has, in joint venture with BEUMER Group, a global leader in baggage-handling systems, signed a master agreement with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) for Toronto Pearson International Airport’s​ Baggage 2025 initiative.

To accommodate growth and to improve capacity, reliability, and efficiency at the airport, the GTAA is embarking upon an ambitious upgrade to Toronto Pearson’s baggage-handling operations, with a state-of-the-art, automated system.

The master agreement includes several design-build work packages that together will revolutionize the way the airport operates, enhancing the passenger experience and ultimately moving Toronto Pearson closer toward the vision of being the best airport in the world.

“With over a century of helping our partners succeed, our company takes pride in partnering with the best,” said Dave Filipchuk, PCL president and CEO. “Having successfully delivered a number of projects at Toronto Pearson, PCL is excited to continue building our relationship by partnering with Beumer to deliver a best-in-class solution that supports the GTAA in growing Toronto Pearson’s status as an international gateway.”

The modern and fully automated approach that the Beumer-PCL team will deliver is relatively new in North America but has been more broadly implemented in Europe and Asia.

“BEUMER Group values long-term partnerships, and with this contract we are set for a journey that will last for many years with a clear aim to transform Toronto Airport's baggage handling into a leading airport hub operation,” said Dr. Christoph Beumer, chairman and CEO, BEUMER Group. “We have listened to the GTAA's plans and applied our open mind and creativity to lay out the best solution for developing the airport's baggage-handling process for the benefit of their passengers and their staff."

“As Toronto Pearson’s passenger traffic continues to see significant growth, the GTAA recognizes the importance of planning to meet the demands of a future airport that could grow to welcome over 80 million annual passengers in the next twenty years,” said Howard Eng, president and chief executive officer, GTAA. “With the innovative solutions designed by our partners at BEUMER Group and PCL Construction, the airport will be well equipped to provide efficient, resilient baggage service and ready the system for an estimated 80 million pieces of luggage per year by the mid-2030s.”

As part of the master service agreement, the GTAA will implement Beumer’s automated tote-based baggage transport and sortation system, CrisBag®, at Toronto Pearson. With this solution, each item of baggage remains in the same individually controlled tote and is 100% tracked and traceable at every stage of the baggage-handling process, which is key to complying with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) requirements for US transborder clearance.

Beumer and PCL look forward to working with the GTAA and partners that include Brock Solutions, B+H Architects, Peter Sheffield & Associates, The Mitchell Partnership, and Mulvey & Banani International. Construction on the first four work packages is set to begin at the end of January, with completion scheduled for 2021.

About PCL Construction

PCL is a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and in Australia. These diverse operations in the civil infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings markets are supported by a strategic presence in 31 major centers. Together, these companies have an annual construction volume of $9 billion, making PCL the largest contracting organization in Canada and one of the largest in North America. Watch us build at PCL.com.

About GTAA

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) is the operator of Toronto Pearson International Airport. The GTAA’s vision is to make Toronto Pearson the best airport in the world. Towards this objective, the GTAA focuses on ensuring the safety and security of passengers and airport employees, enhancing the passenger experience and supporting the success of its airline partners. Toronto Pearson is Canada's largest airport and the second-busiest North American international airport.

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Reliable across rough terrain
Beckum, 29. January 2019

BEUMER Group at bauma 2019:

At bauma, which will take place in Munich from 8 to 14 April, BEUMER Group will provide information on their efficient transport solutions for the mining industry, among other areas. Overland conveyors and Pipe Conveyors transport various raw materials over long distances and often through rough terrain. This is generally faster, more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly than trucking. The system supplier also offers comprehensive technology for the cement and building materials industries and is the only supplier to provide complete packaging lines from a single source – from filling and palletising to transport packaging of the pallet.

The overland conveyors and Pipe Conveyors of BEUMER Group can be used by companies in the mining industry to transport various bulk materials, even over long distances and often through rough terrain. High angles of inclination and tight curve radii enable individual routing adapted to the respective task and topography. BEUMER Group relies on camera-equipped drones for the planning, projection, implementation and documentation of these systems. Using special software solutions, the system supplier evaluates the aerial photographs photogrammetrically to generate digital terrain models.

The product range of the system supplier includes stackers and bridge reclaimers for storage yards, whether with or without blending bed systems. These stack bulk material and guarantee a maximum blending effect. Users can also efficiently homogenise large quantities of different bulk materials and bulk material qualities and thus ensure the uniformity of the raw materials used. For efficient loading, BEUMER Group supplies ship loaders with fixed booms and extendable telescopic belt conveyors, as well as bulk loading heads, which are used to load bulk materials into silo vehicles quickly and without dust.

BEUMER Group will present economic solutions for companies from both the cement and building materials industries at the trade fair. In cement plants, clinker with temperatures of 500 to 800 degrees is transported from the kiln cooling system to the silos. With its belt apron conveyors, BEUMER Group offers robust solutions for efficient transport. A belt instead of a chain as the traction element allows higher speeds and a slimmer design while still delivering the same level of performance. These conveyors are therefore particularly suitable for modernisations.

When it comes to filling, palletising and packaging cement, BEUMER Group offers complete packaging lines from a single source - a unique selling point in this industry. The system supplier offers the BEUMER fillpac filling machine for different requirements in various versions. The unique feature of this filling technology is that it can handle a wide range of materials, from very fine to coarse structures. In addition, various palletising solutions and a high-performance packaging system with sophisticated features are available.

Against the background of the global climate debate, the use of so-called alternative fuels and raw materials (AFR) in the energy-intensive cement production is steadily increasing. BEUMER Group offers tailor-made systems for the entire material flow chain in cement plants - from receiving and unloading the delivery vehicle to storing, sampling, conveying and dosing the solid alternative fuels.

BEUMER at bauma: hall B2, booth 413

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Secure packaging
Beckum, 23. January 2019

BEUMER Group at POWTECH 2019:

BEUMER Group will exhibit its expertise as a system provider for complete high-capacity packaging lines at POWTECH 2019 in Nuremberg from April 9 – 11, hall 1, booth 627. BEUMER Group optimizes the performance of each machine, its components and the high-level controls to ensure high throughput of the lines for (petro)chemical products and building materials.

The behaviour of powders and bulk material can change entirely according to operating conditions, handling methods and the intended use, whether it is for (petro)chemical products or building materials. This impacts the flow behaviour, which has a considerable influence on how to optimally design the conveying, filling, palletising and packaging systems. BEUMER Group designs, constructs and installs systems that are tailored in detail to industry-specific requirements.

The BEUMER fillpac R filling machine fills bulk material from the building materials industry and other industrial pulverized goods into different bag sizes and types like valve bottom and flat valve bags in an efficient and gentle way and with the required throughput. The structure of the materials can be very fine to very coarse. The BEUMER bag placer and the ream magazine supply the rotary filling machine with empty bags to ensure the high throughput. The highly efficient form fill seal system BEUMER fillpac FFS is used in the chemical and petrochemical industries. It forms bags from a prefabricated tubular PE film and fills them with the product. The customers can select the optimal machine performance class from this product family depending on their requirements.

BEUMER Group offers different palletising solutions, depending on the packaged items. The BEUMER paletpac is suited best for bulk material. It is incorporated into high-performance packaging lines to process even sensitive and valuable products as well as products with special flow characteristics in a gentle and efficient manner. Depending on the product requirements, these palletisers can be equipped with a clamp-type or twin-belt turning device which turns the filled bags quickly into the required position for stacking, ensuring their dimensional stability without any deformations.

Products for the (petro)chemical industries are filled in special bags, barrels, canisters, cartons or buckets. To palletise them, BEUMER Group offers its space-saving articulated robot, the BEUMER robotpac. Depending on the packaged items, BEUMER Group equips the robot with the appropriate gripping tools which can be easily and automatically changed, if the packaged items change. The fork gripper for example was designed specifically for palletising cardboard boxes, the finger gripper for bagged goods. For maximum performance, BEUMER Group offers a double gripper for both types. They also offer parallel grippers for dimensionally stable packed items, suction grippers for items with a smooth surface and many other special grippers and combination tools.

Packaged items stacked accurately on pallets can then be transported successfully to the downstream packaging system – for example, the BEUMER stretch hood. It covers the palletised goods with a highly stretchable film. During transshipment and outside storage, the merchandise is protected reliably against environmental influences such as sunlight, dirt and humidity.

BEUMER at the POWTECH 2019, hall 1, booth 627

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BEUMER lands $33 million contract at Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport
Aarhus, 08. January 2019

BEUMER Group has signed an agreement with Aruba Airport Authority N.V. for the design and installation of a $33 million, high-speed baggage transportation and sortation system at Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport. The installation, which also includes BEUMER’s residential program for on-site operation and maintenance, is part of the airport’s Gateway 2030 expansion and modernisation program.

The baggage handling system (BHS) features a tote-based CrisBag® high speed baggage transportation and sortation system, with integration to a full TSA-compliant EDS screening system with in-tote screening functionality, and a Baggage Image Weight Identification System (BIWIS) to streamline the airport’s U.S. pre-clearance process.

The new system will eliminate the requirement to reclaim checked luggage and undergo a second passenger screening process which presently is in place for U.S. travellers. Additionally, the new system will allow U.S and non-U.S. bound flights to operate from a common-use check-in facility. Aruba Airport handles approximately 2.8 million passengers annually, with 67 percent coming from the United States.

The Aruba Airport project is the first airport in the Caribbean and Latin America to showcase BEUMER Group’s integrated ICS system (CrisBag) and bag storage system (CrisStore) to handle the peak flight demands of the airport, according to BEUMER Senior Vice President Barry Lagerstedt.

“The application of U.S. Customs Pre-Clearance as well as the interface with TSA-compliant protocol baggage screening is a perfect application for our integrated CrisBag baggage handling and storage solution and provides the highest reliability and security of any system available,” BEUMER Senior Vice President Barry Lagerstedt said. “Our team has worked very closely with the Aruba Airport programme team to verify system capabilities, operational benefits and future capabilities. We are proud to design a scalable and redundant tote-based system, and we look forward to a successful long-term relationship with Aruba Airport."

The final design of BEUMER’s tote-based CrisBag system will be carried out in collaboration with the airport’s main terminal designer, NACO, and program management consultant Satterfield & Pontikes to ensure that the baggage handling system and the building are properly integrated and that the new system is designed and built with the optimal efficiency.

“We are very pleased to have crossed this important milestone,” said Aruba Airport Authority N.V. CEO James Fazio. “The new baggage handling system is the centerpiece of the airport’s redevelopment project and will allow for the modernisation and streamlining of many of our passenger processes, most notably, a significantly more efficient U.S. Customs pre-clearance operation, improved baggage screening, and a more efficient use of the airport check-in hall capacity. We are very pleased to be partnering with BEUMER Group on this important system and look forward to working on transforming our airport in the upcoming years.”

Installation will begin in Q3 of 2020, with completion expected in Q2 of 2021 in coordination with the opening of the Gateway 2030 project construction phase 1.

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"We have all the opportunities in the world"
Beckum, 22. November 2018

Interview with Johannes Stemmer, Director Digital Transformation at BEUMER Group

Digital transformation is inevitable. Industry, economy and society are already there. How can a medium-sized mechanical engineering company and leading global systems supplier of intralogistics solutions face these changes and get the most value out of it? Johannes Stemmer, Director Digital Transformation at BEUMER Group, is here to give us answers.

Mr Stemmer, how do you understand digital transformation within the context of your company?

Stemmer: It basically comes down to the safeguarding of our future sustainability. We are combining 80 years of experience, which made us one of the leading global systems suppliers in the intralogistics industry, with innovation that is driven by today's challenges from digitization.

What is important for a successful digital transformation?

Stemmer: We are already experiencing digital transformation, not only in our business, but also in our private lives. Almost everybody owns a smartphone, streaming services are taking over and digital platforms are continuously growing. Many of the companies that are active in this field have no relation to standard business models which have existed previously. In August this year, Apple became the first company in the world to have a net worth of more than one trillion US dollars. That is more than the 15 largest DAX-listed companies combined. This switch to mobile end devices also affects the buying behaviour in our society. E-commerce is picking up speed, and we are expecting double-digit growth per year in this area. It is an important business field for BEUMER Group. We have to be fast and flexible in adapting new technologies.

Property rights are an important topic that we will need to examine thoroughly. A traditional technical innovation can be patented, but when it comes to software, things get a littler more difficult, and for business models it becomes almost impossible. For any digital innovation, data plays an increasingly important role. Their value tends to be underestimated in the industrial context. Data, and the resulting efficiency gains, are beneficial for customers and companies and the use of this data can be transferred into new business models. In this regard, other countries are way ahead of us, which has to make us rethink our strategy.

Where is Germany in this process at the moment?

Stemmer: I think that German companies are generally in a better position than it is often portrayed in the media. We have many hidden champions who are global leaders with their products and systems. That is a very good starting position to acquire the necessary digital literacy needed to ensure future sustainability. In my opinion it is easier for a company to adapt the digitization technologies instead of trying to catch up on the know-how lead in the manufacturing sector from a software perspective.

The goal is to complement the capacity of the machines and systems, including the required software and controls, with digital innovation. Especially the B2B environment offers us every chance to play a leading role.

The name "digital transformation" already implies that there is an important change involved. What does this mean for the business world and for the individual, what will be the challenges?

Stemmer: First of all we have to include the people in this, at an acceptable pace. We at BEUMER Group have a large group of different experts. Some of the colleagues work on innovation and software every day, other areas are less affected by this. It is important to make all employees more aware of this topic. Digital transformation is inevitable and it will change our entire business environment. So we should avoid alarmism and find quick and consistent answers instead.

How can you make people more aware of this topic?

Stemmer: One good example are streaming services. Everybody knows Spotify, Apple Music or Netflix. What is new is that we have to look at them as our competitors. Not because they offer the traditional products in the intralogistics field like we do, but because streaming services have changed the entire market mechanisms. Our sortation systems were used for sorting and distributing CDs for the music industry, for example. Within only a few months this entire market was cancelled out, almost no one went to a record store anymore because now there were streaming services. With these business models, the services contributed, within a very short period of time, to the disruption of a market segment that we are active in. This can happen in other segments too.

What are the reactions among the employees?

Stemmer: They can see that there is a lot happening right now. They also see the opportunities, if we respond quickly and efficiently. We can't just ignore the changes. BEUMER Group's core lies in plant engineering. In the past, we focused primarily on physical products and their automation, like a packaging system, a sorter or a belt conveyor. That is our expertise. But over the course of the last few years, software became increasingly important, so that we are now employing more than 200 software engineers in our group. This trend will only continue.

How can this transformation process play out? Are there different steps?

Stemmer: It would be naive to think that we could make this change happen at the push of a button. It is a process that will take several years: we need to prepare our company for the digital age and bring our employees on board. For this we are launching several pilot projects that are aimed towards solving concrete customer problems, improving our processes and targeting new business models with the help of digitization. Depending on the success of the pilot phase, the lessons learned will be integrated and developed further in our processes, products and services.

BEUMER Group wants to be a driver of the digital change and launched two spin-off companies. Can you tell us a little bit about these teams and their fields of activity?

Stemmer: We started BG.evolution at the university location of Dortmund, with the intention to bring digital innovation from outside into the company. The means that the colleagues are working on a customer problem and develop so-called minimum viable products, prototypes that feature minimum equipment, and check, if applicable, their market potential up to marketability. This makes it easier for us to decide quickly whether a new technology will work for the concrete customer problem. Let's take for example the use of smart glasses: if our colleagues on site need the support from other departments at the head offices, for example for a concrete error pattern or maintenance. Here the new technologies can help us to support our service technicians or the customer directly. This is what we are testing the video glasses for. The advantages: with the glasses, the colleagues on site can continue to work hands-free and communicate with everybody involved. The goal of BG.evlution is to validate new technologies for concrete applications in cooperation with the customer.

The second spin-off is Beam GmbH in Berlin. With this autonomous company builder we want to solve problems that are unique to the logistics industry in cooperation with start-up teams. For this we are planning on founding three start-ups per year and transfer them, consolidated under Beam, into a separate company. The goal is to open up new business fields in logistics. One example is that the BEUMER logistics chain at airports ends at the baggage reclaim area. One idea could be to have the bags of frequent flyers or business travellers directly delivered to their hotel. This is not part of the BEUMER core competencies, but a very promising business segment. A young company could accept that challenge and work autonomously on a solution. Our goal is to then successfully establish it on the market. Unlike in Dortmund, the aim in Berlin is to pitch the problem to entrepreneurs and get them interested in working on a solution. What we offer is start-up financing and access to our experts and customers. They get the chance to start their own company.

How do you meet the entrepreneurs?

Stemmer: We launched this process about a year ago at Factory Berlin, the biggest start-up campus in Germany. There is a lot of talent among the 1,500 to 2,000 entrepreneurs. Our Managing Director there is Robert Bach, himself an experienced entrepreneur. In Berlin we are right in the heart of the start-up scene, can benefit from events, give presentations ourselves and arrange offline events to get people's attention. Of course we can also use that framework to advertise for BEUMER Group: Who are we? What is our goal? Who are we looking for and what can we offer young entrepreneurs? It is the perfect platform for us for networking and elevating visibility.

Who are the BEUMER employees in Dortmund and Berlin?

Stemmer: The team in Dortmund is led by Christopher Kirsch. He is an experienced IT specialist and used to work for research institutions and industry projects for many years. Our goal in Dortmund is to bring more software and sensor technology expertise into our company. So we are always looking for new talent in areas like Internet of Things (IoT), sensor technology, full stack development and UX design. All of which are relatively new job descriptions in the plant engineering sector. Let me come back to the smart glasses: we don't only need the hardware in the form of the actual glasses, but they must also be connected and integrated into our existing BEUMER tool landscape. We also need experts that are familiar with the exact conditions on site and can recognise typical error patterns, so that, by using the smart glasses, they can provide better service. This is why Dortmund is working in close cooperation with the colleagues and customers at the head offices, while Berlin has a more autonomous character.

What are your responsibilities?

Stemmer: My task is to build a bridge between BG.evolution in Dortmund, Beam in Berlin and BEUMER Group. I am responsible for BEUMER internal digitization projects as well as the management of BG.evolution. I'm basically the interface between the colleagues in Dortmund, Berlin and the BEUMER Group companies and I support and foster the mutual exchange. I want to make our colleagues more aware of this topic, which is a big part of my job. Communication is probably the most important element when it comes to digital Transformation.

How does the cooperation with Beckum work?

Stemmer: It works very well in general, and we also learn new things every day and try out new formats of cooperating. Several times a year, we organise "Pitch Days" at our locations in Denmark, Beckum and the US, for example. We encourage our colleagues to bring in their own ideas and challenges from their everyday working life. This takes place in a very relaxed atmosphere in the cafeteria. Our goal is to generate new input that we address internally in Dortmund and Berlin, if possible, and include the colleagues and idea providers in the validation process.

BEUMER Group works in different business segments, such as the Center of Competence (CoC) for Logistics and the CoC Airport. Here we participate in central meetings and present our topics, learn about new problems and challenges and ensure a continuous dialogue. We want to keep our colleagues up-to-date and communicate transparently through various in-house events. They are a crucial key element for us. Because there is a legitimate interest in what we are doing and why. We continue to learn every day what format works and what doesn't. For some projects, our colleagues from Beckum can also come to Berlin or Dortmund themselves.

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BEUMER Group automated parcel sorter goes live at Whistl’s super depot in Bolton, UK
Aarhus, 13. November 2018

BEUMER Group, a leading global supplier of automated parcel and post distribution systems, announces the live operation of an automated sortation system installed in Whistl's new super depot in Bolton, UK.

The automated cross-belt loop sorter will ensure faster sortation with greater capacity for e-commerce packets and parcels (cardboard boxes, jiffy bags, poly-wraps) up to the medium size. Cost-effective sortation combined with reduced levels of energy consumption enhance Whistl's commitment to considering the environment, in addition to the competitive and economic factors of each procurement decision.

As the UK’s second largest postal operator, Whistl contracted BEUMER to install the automated sorter in the new super depot. The depot operates as the designated hub for Whistl's sortation operations in the North West of the UK, which is one of the UK’s leading logistics and distribution areas.

Designed to enable Whistl to achieve further expansion to support the soaring e-commerce market, the ergonomic design of the sorter’s man/machine interface also supports Whistl’s drive to provide a clean, safe and secure work environment. In addition to the overall design of the sorter, BEUMER Group tested the interface to ensure that operators would experience minimal twisting and turning and no repetitive stress.

Whistl’s CEO, Nick Wells, CEO explains "The meticulous design of BEUMER Group's sortation system enables Whistl to achieve greater efficiency in the processing of packets and parcels. This is an essential part of Whistl’s growth strategy in responding to the continued growth in the e-commerce market.”

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Through wild nature and populated regions
Beckum, 12. November 2018

Asia Cement Group opts for 13.7 km long BEUMER Group troughed belt conveyor in Sichuan, China:

Sichuan Yadong Cement Co, Ltd. in Pengzhou, China, has been relying on a 12.5 km overland conveyor from BEUMER Group in order to convey limestone from their quarry to their silo. When constructed in 2009 it was the longest belt conveying system in BEUMER history (BEUMER installed a longer system in 2016). The troughed belt conveyor runs through hilly terrain and nature reserves, over streams and unstable ground. The second project includes two additional overland conveyors, with an overall length of 13.7 kilometres, transporting limestone to the cement plant. Unlike the first project, the task here was to build the conveyor across inhabited areas. Noise emission limitations set forth by the government also needed to be considered.

A traditional Chinese proverb says that the roads in Sichuan are hard, harder than climbing to heaven. Depending on the destination, there are rivers and valleys to be crossed and mountains to overcome. The southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan is the source of the majority of different ores in the country, such as titan, lithium and silver and plays a major role economically. The electronics, mechanical engineering, metallurgical, chemical, medical, food and building material industries are all pillars of the economy. One of the cement manufacturers in the region is Sichuan Yadong Cement Co, Ltd. located near Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. The company is a member of the Asia Cement Group, headquartered in Taipeh, Taiwan.

In 2004, the company decided to build a new cement plant in Sichuan. During the development phase, Asia Cement Group received approval from the Chinese government to use an abandoned railway to transport the limestone. Halfway through finishing the plant however, the government decided to build a new dam. The area intended for the transport was to be flooded, which would have changed the project conditions considerably: roads would be flooded and the trucks would have to take significant detours. Asia Cement Group was also planning on building two additional kiln lines at this location. It was determined, as a time and cost efficient alternative, to install a troughed belt conveyor able to navigate horizontal and vertical curves. For this, the company turned to BEUMER Group. For many years now, Asia Cement has been relying on the system supplier's expertise and are currently operating several of its bucket elevators.

Knowing what the customer wants

BEUMER Group took over the mechanical and electrical engineering and supplied the core components for the overland conveyor and monitored and commissioned its installation. The advantage: The Chinese subsidiary BEUMER Machinery Shanghai can be reached easily and deployed quickly to site. "Our colleagues were able to work closely with the customer. They know the specific local customs, speak the language and are familiar with the particular market and customer requirements," reports Dr. Andreas Echelmeyer, Director of Conveying and Loading Systems at BEUMER Group.

In May 2006, Asia Cement Group awarded the contract for the 12.5 km long system. The overland conveyor can reach a mass flow of 1,500 tons per hour and a conveying speed of four meters per second. "Compared to other conveying solutions, the open troughed belt conveyors are suitable for higher throughputs. Horizontal as well as vertical curve radii are possible," explains Dr. Echelmeyer. They can be adapted to the specific task and topography. Using BEUMER calculation programs, we can precisely calculate the static and dynamic tractive forces of the belt during the development phase of the system. This is a prerequisite for the safe dimensioning of horizontal curves. The type of drive technology and conveyor belts needed are based on these calculations. This ensures longevity of the entire system.

Mountains, soft grounds and extreme heights

The terrain is hilly and covered with dense bamboo forest, parts of which are listed as nature reserve. For this reason, the government did not approve a service route nor deforestation. The ground also presented a major challenge for the BEUMER Group engineers: "The ground is unstable due to previous coal mining. In other areas, the ground consists mostly of granite that could only be partially removed," explains Dr. Echelmeyer. Another section of 1.5 kilometres had to be guided across a river. These framework conditions contributed to the fact that 90 percent of the system was installed manually on site. As it was impossible for trucks to transport the components, they were carried by mules, one part at a time, to the place of installation.

The route of the overland conveyor was coordinated between BEUMER Group and the cement manufacturer. The system supplier calculated the tractive forces of the belt considering the eight horizontal curves with radii of 1,000 to 5,000 metres. The routing was checked for its feasibility on site. The complete route was checked by employees on foot, passing through rough terrain, in order to reliably check the predefined positions for the 460 supports for their suitability directly on site. Whenever technically possible, the routing of the conveyor was adapted to the topography. Height differences of up to 100 metres had to be overcome within shortest distances, so several sections were equipped with bridges of up to 55 metres. One section was realised with a 130 metre long tunnel.

In close cooperation with the customer, BEUMER Group designed the overland conveyor and the bridges. The system supplier developed, built and supplied the core components for the drive and take-up station as well as the belt of an overall length of 25 kilometres, the idlers and the drive technology. Since February 2009, the overland conveyor has been transporting bulk material from the quarry to the bulk loading system. Since commissioning of the first section, the mass flow of the conveyor was increased in two steps. Today, the system conveys a mass flow  of 2,200 tons per hour at a conveying speed of 4.5 metres per second.

The longest belt conveyor in company history

In July 2013, Asia Cement contracted BEUMER Group again for an additional, efficient overland conveyor to replace the trucks transporting the limestone from the bulk loading system to the cement plant. A mass flow of 2,200 tons of limestone per hour was necessary to meet the plant's requirements. For this project, the first conveyor was to be customised to these requirements. "We were planning a second troughed belt conveyor with an overall length of 13.7 kilometres," says Dr. Echelmeyer. This is the longest system in the history of BEUMER.

Projects of that size are often unpredictable, so flexibility was needed from the engineers. During the planning phase, the cement manufacturer acquired another plant in Lanfeng, approximately ten kilometres away. "Now we had to design the system so that both plants could be supplied with limestone," explains Dr. Echelmeyer. The team had to divide the overland conveyor in two parts. After 5.4 kilometres, an additional conveyor can be added to be fed to Lanfeng in the future. In February 2015, the system supplier started with the installation of the conveyor frame.

Both overland conveyors have four horizontal curves with radii of 1,200, 1,500 and 1,800 metres. "We provided the engineering and the individual parts such as pulleys, motors, drive and control technology and the entire automation," describes Dr. Echelmeyer. The installation was monitored by a BEUMER Group supervisor and the wiring of the system was supported by a BEUMER electrical engineer. The system supplier was also in charge of the commissioning in May 2016. The troughed belt conveyor is now supplying three kiln lines, a fourth line is planned.

Reaching the destination - no longer through rough terrain, and quiet

The requirements were different for the two projects: the challenges for the first project were the hilly terrain, instable grounds and crossing through conservation areas and over waterways, for the second project the system had to be built crossing through populated areas. The Chinese government has set out exact regulations on the noise emission levels so that the residents would not be impacted. "We had to minimize the noise to an extremely low level," describes Dr. Echelmeyer. The system supplier took several constructive measures in order to reduce the noise emissions. "We used noise-reducing idlers and customised protective covers on the drive stations," explains Dr. Echelmeyer. In collaboration with the operator, BEUMER Group optimised the conveyor frame and the completely enclosed conveyor Bridge.

For the whole project, BEUMER Group was able to ensure that the limestone is transported safely and quietly, without disturbing the residents or disrupting the surrounding nature.

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BEUMER Group wins contract for overland conveyor at Knight Hawk Coal facility in Illinois
Beckum, 05. September 2018

Four-mile single-flight system to serve company’s Prairie Eagle Mine

BEUMER Groups’ U.S. subsidiary, the BEUMER Corporation, has been awarded a contract to design, supply and install a nearly four-mile overland conveyor at Knight Hawk Coal’s Prairie Eagle Mine in Illinois.

The Knight Hawk project is a strategic win for BEUMER, allowing the company to broaden its mining sector footprint, according to Brad Williams, Vice President of Sales and Business Development for BEUMER’s Conveying & Loading Division, based in the Kansas City area.

“We are very accustomed to handling coal and coal residuals in the Power industry, but we are excited about the opportunity to focus on a project directly in the coal mining sector,” Williams said.

The curved troughed belt conveyor will carry coal from Knight Hawk’s new underground mine portal to its main coal preparation plant at Prairie Eagle. The overland conveyor will allow Knight Hawk to seal a portion of its underground mine and bring coal to the surface near its current mining activities. Commissioning of the new conveying system is scheduled for April 2019.

“This project is right up BEUMER’s alley from a technology standpoint, as it will become our third overland curved troughed belt conveyor installed in North America in the last five years,” Williams said. “Our curved conveyor technology allows for a single-flight system that costs less to install and operate than a conventional conveying system, and will offer Knight Hawk long-term financial and environmental benefits when compared with trucking.”

The original request for proposal called for four straight conveyors requiring three transfer towers,” Williams explained. BEUMER’s winning proposal features a single-flight curved conveying system that eliminates the cost of tower steel, and greatly reduces the quantity of components and necessary spare parts. It reduces the dust, noise, maintenance and operating costs associated with the transfer points, and offers 98 percent reliability compared with roughly 92 percent reliability of four conveyors operating in series.

Prairie Eagle is the hub of Knight Hawk's coal mining operations, processing and shipping more than 80 percent of the company's five million tons of annual coal production. Opened in 2005 as a surface mine, the Illinois facility was expanded to include two underground mines, Knight Hawk's primary coal preparation plant, and multiple truck loading facilities. Prairie Eagle is widely recognized as one of the most efficient underground mines in the United States.

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We keep your systems running
Beckum, 29. August 2018

BEUMER Group's availability management makes sure that your machines run without interruption:

Companies continue to develop and implement new innovations, shortening the life cycles of individual products and product series. Market developments can also make it necessary to implement the newly developed components into the existing systems. As a result, manufacturers have to increasingly phase out components and technologies. For these cases, BEUMER Group provides their customers with several solution packages so their systems can run without interruption.

A typical example is the development of energy-efficient motors. After an initial market launch, a manufacturer generally phases out previous product generations, which means that they are no longer available for parts supply. New drives are often not compatible with the predecessor models, having for example a different start-up behaviour. In these cases, BEUMER Group customer support provides its customers with targeted engineering and service measures. They are easy to plan and help prevent system downtimes. This means that even older systems can remain operational for many years for BEUMER customers.

Enough supplies for a long operating time

One of these measures is the so-called "last-buy campaign": "Our customers stock up on the original components or comparable parts prior to the discontinuation notice so that they can continue to use the system," explains Guido Hesse, Director Customer Support in Beckum, Germany. "We ensure a consistently operational solution, following the slogan: we keep you running."

Another approach are comparable components that BEUMER provides its customers. The engineering and service departments work closely together: these experts identify and test individual parts and supply them quickly. This means that BEUMER Group can ensure the continued operation of the customer's systems, even after a discontinuation. With this trustworthy approach, BEUMER provides reliable solutions to maintain system availability.

With the launch of a new component generation comes the occasional need to adjust system control as well requiring new commissioning. BEUMER Group assists here as well.

Systems (almost) for eternity

An interesting application took place recently at a German airport: the baggage conveying system installed by BEUMER is over 20 years old. The programming language of the control technology is no longer state-of-the art. When the airport decided to continue to use the existing technology for another five years with the help from the BEUMER Group customer support, the challenge was to find an expert who is familiar with the dated programming language. A challenge that was quickly resolved. "We could find an already retired, but still motivated colleague who was able to do the reprogramming," remembers Guido Hesse. "Everybody was happy."

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BEUMER Group wins contract for overland conveyor at Knight Hawk Coal facility in Illinois
Beckum, 21. August 2018

Four-mile single-flight system to serve company’s Prairie Eagle Mine

BEUMER Groups’ U.S. subsidiary, the BEUMER Corporation, has been awarded a contract to design, supply and install a nearly four-mile overland conveyor at Knight Hawk Coal’s Prairie Eagle Mine in Illinois.

The Knight Hawk project is a strategic win for BEUMER, allowing the company to broaden its mining sector footprint, according to Brad Williams, Vice President of Sales and Business Development for BEUMER’s Conveying & Loading Division, based in the Kansas City area.

“We are very accustomed to handling coal and coal residuals in the Power industry, but we are excited about the opportunity to focus on a project directly in the coal mining sector,” Williams said.

The curved troughed belt conveyor will carry coal from Knight Hawk’s new underground mine portal to its main coal preparation plant at Prairie Eagle. The overland conveyor will allow Knight Hawk to seal a portion of its underground mine and bring coal to the surface near its current mining activities. Commissioning of the new conveying system is scheduled for April 2019.

“This project is right up BEUMER’s alley from a technology standpoint, as it will become our third overland curved troughed belt conveyor installed in North America in the last five years,” Williams said. “Our curved conveyor technology allows for a single-flight system that costs less to install and operate than a conventional conveying system, and will offer Knight Hawk long-term financial and environmental benefits when compared with trucking.”

The original request for proposal called for four straight conveyors requiring three transfer towers,” Williams explained. BEUMER’s winning proposal features a single-flight curved conveying system that eliminates the cost of tower steel, and greatly reduces the quantity of components and necessary spare parts. It reduces the dust, noise, maintenance and operating costs associated with the transfer points, and offers 98 percent reliability compared with roughly 92 percent reliability of four conveyors operating in series.

Prairie Eagle is the hub of Knight Hawk's coal mining operations, processing and shipping more than 80 percent of the company's five million tons of annual coal production. Opened in 2005 as a surface mine, the Illinois facility was expanded to include two underground mines, Knight Hawk's primary coal preparation plant, and multiple truck loading facilities. Prairie Eagle is widely recognized as one of the most efficient underground mines in the United States.

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BEUMER Group hands-over new baggage handling system at Paris - Charles de Gaulle Airport
Aarhus, 21. August 2018

BEUMER Group - a leading global supplier of automated baggage handling systems - announces that the new Baggage Handling System (BHS) at Paris - Charles de Gaulle Airport has been handed over to the airport operators, Groupe ADP.

The new CrisBag® tote-based BHS will provide 100% tracking of baggage as it is checked-in at the Airport's Terminal 2E and transported via a 500-meter tunnel to the Satellite 3 (S3) Terminal. The CrisBag system will also provide the speed and capacity to meet the demands of the large-capacity airliners, such as the Airbus A380, which are served by the S3 Satellite.

“BEUMER Group is a long-term partner of Groupe ADP, which is why we were entrusted with the update to the baggage handling system and the integration of the airport’s first ECAC Standard 3 screening system,” explains Klaus Schäfer, Managing Director, BEUMER Group A/S.

With its high redundancy, the CrisBag system will ensure high availability and enable the airport to offer passengers greater flexibility at check-in. The high-speed transportation of baggage from check-in to S3 will allow very short transport time, less than 20 minutes including ECAC Standard 3 screening.

Groupe ADP chose the CrisBag tote-based system for its high reliability which offers the optimum solution for this type of tunnel-based transport. The system consists of more than 2500 CrisBag modules and has a capacity of 3200 bags per hour.

“The technical performance of the system was demonstrated during 2 months of intensive tests involving carrying test luggage and ensuring integrity from a safety point of view, while working around the need to keep the terminal in operation”, explains Nadine Vennat, Groupe ADP Project Director.

She continues, “The BEUMER Group and Alstef teams provided Groupe ADP with operational support during the first 4 weeks of ramp-up operations to help Groupe ADP teams take control of the system. As a first step, ORAT tests were organised to validate the operational processes. Then the system was put into service progressively, check-in group by check-in group, with technical support from BEUMER Group to pilot the supervision station.

“This transitional phase was the key to a smooth start-up. The proximity of the BEUMER Group teams helped to quickly instill confidence and helped us make the decision to use the TDS3 BHS for full operation only 2 months after initial hand-over, at the beginning of summer 2018.”

The combination of high-level controls for the baggage handling system, with SAC and SCADA systems, and the low-level controls, will provide Paris - Charles de Gaulle Airport with comprehensive management of the entire baggage handling system process. The high-level controls also feature a web-based user interface to enable remote control of the baggage handling system from a tablet device. In addition, the integration of RFID scanning of bag tags in the new baggage handling system will ensure that Groupe ADP remains at the forefront of airport technology. RFID baggage labels have been shown to minimise the number of mishandled bags and have been trialed by Groupe ADP since 2013 with the installation of RFID scanners by Air France and KLM.

Continued availability of the new baggage handling system is crucial for Paris - Charles de Gaulle, which is one of the world’s 10 busiest airports by passenger traffic. To ensure on-going optimisation and efficiency, Groupe ADP has also awarded BEUMER Group with a contract for the 24/7 maintenance of the CrisBag system. Based on very high Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), the contract will ensure that the baggage handling operation maintains the agreed high levels of performance. This will enable Paris - Charles de Gaulle Airport to meet its responsibilities to its airlines and passengers.

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The perfect set-up for change
Beckum, 21. August 2018

BEUMER Group's single-source-solution for Röfix proves the highest degree of flexibility for bagging, palletising and packaging different building materials:

Röfix AG's portfolio comprises around 200 different building materials, e.g. masonry mortar, renderings, paints, coatings and unbonded screeds. To make sure that the correct quantity of these materials gets to the customer safely and on time, the manufacturer places a special emphasis on filling, palletising and packaging technology. BEUMER Group provided an entire system to the site in Sennwald, Switzerland and integrated it into an existing building. The system can be flexibly adapted to the different materials, no retrofitting required. The individual system components are easy to maintain and operate reliably. This ensures high levels of availability and prevents downtimes.

A mountain range, characterised by the summits of the Chrüzberg, Stauberen and Hoher Kasten, dominates the panorama of the extensive Rhine plains. Here in Sennwald in the canton of St. Gallen, nature enthusiasts, hikers and bikers enjoy the forests, meadows and winding paths. The Austrian building materials manufacturer Röfix, member of the Fixit Gruppe, has one of its five Swiss locations in this picturesque town with its approximately 5,000 inhabitants. "We are manufacturing our entire product range here," describes Josef Sennhauser, CEO of Röfix, Switzerland. "Among the some 200 different building materials are fine plaster, different types of concrete, masonry mortar, screed and adhesives," adds plant manager Gerhardt Welte. "Each of these products has very different flow properties."

This can be a challenge. In order to remain competitive, not only the quality of the building materials is important, but "Manufacturers must also be reliable in getting their products to the customer on time," Sennhauser emphasises. "One of the most decisive factors for customer satisfaction is staying on schedule." To achieve this, the Suisse subsidiary needed an adaptable packaging line that could quickly bag, palletise and then package the finished stack with a stretch hood. In the past it had repeatedly incurred downtime on individual machines and workers had to do extensive retrofitting on the line when products changed, which caused delays.

Decision for the right partner

Röfix' experience has already been positive with solutions of BEUMER Group at some of their other plants. This is why those responsible turned towards BEUMER Group as a one-stop shop for filling, palletising and packaging technologies. "Not only do our customers look for reliability, we expect the same from our suppliers," says Welte. The key requirements for the packaging line, besides adaptability, were mainly economical operation, easy maintenance and extensive customer support. Both companies quickly agreed on the scope and schedule and the project was ready to begin.

Filling process: not too much, not too little

Due to the wide range of manufactured building materials, BEUMER Group installed a BEUMER fillpac R filling machine that operates according to the air filling principle. The bags are weighed during the filling process. The BEUMER fillpac is equipped with an electronic calibration-capable weighing unit. It ensures that the bags are always filled with the same amount of material. A special software enables filling spouts and scale to constantly compare weights. By using ultrasound to seal the bags, a very clean and efficient technology, the system can ensure optimal results. It also avoids the accumulation of material around the valve.

Due to its modular design, the system can be easily integrated into existing lines. The added BEUMER bag placer and ream magazine make the filling system even more efficient. Servomotors automatically, precisely and energy-efficiently drive the application unit and the suction gripper. The gripping and placing system takes the bags from the stack and applies them safely on the filling spout. 1,200 bags per hour can be applied like this with high precision. 1,800 bags are possible by adding an extension. "The BEUMER bag placer can be easily adjusted to other bag formats by the user. This increases the system's flexibility," explains Denis Sielemann, Senior Sales Manager, Building Materials, at BEUMER Group.

Gentle palletising is ensured

For the subsequent fully automatic, reliable and most of all fast palletising, BEUMER Group installed a BEUMER paletpac layer palletiser. This system precisely stacks the bags layer by layer in a 6-bag pattern onto the pallets. Sielemann explains: "The system includes a twin-belt turning device, so the bags can be turned to the required position fast, gently and without affecting their dimensions. "Regarding the positioning accuracy, this device offers an immense advantage when compared with conventional turning processes." The system component moves the bags without deforming them from a mechanical viewpoint. Two parallel belt conveyors are used instead. They turn the bags by moving at different speed. The intelligent control of the twin-belt turning device also takes the dimension and weight of the bags into consideration. Exact positioning, specified by the preset packing pattern, is achieved. What makes it unique: The user no longer needs to adjust the system to changing parameters in case of a product change, saving time and money.

Packed fast and safely

The finished bag stacks are transported over roller conveyors to the BEUMER stretch hood packaging system. "It is particularly easy and safe to use," explains Sieleman. In order to facilitate the work for the maintenance personnel and to ensure high system availability, the new packaging system no longer needs a platform. Maintenance work, such as changing the blades or the sealing bars, is handled at floor level. Additional benefits include the compact design and the resulting low height and small footprint.

A film transport system, which is particularly gentle on the material, introduces the previously cut and sealed film hood into the system. On its way to the crimping and stretching unit, the sealing seam on the film hood cools down so that it can be crimped without losing time. This allows for the elimination of energy-consuming cooling units and efficiency-reducing cooling times. "With the BEUMER stretch hood A, we can switch quickly between different film types, which increases the flexibility of the entire line," says Sielemann. "We can process 50 to 60 pallets per hour," adds Josef Sennhauser: "And this can be still increased if needed."

Everything under control

The system supplier has equipped this line with the BEUMER Human Machine Interface, which makes it easy and simple to operate. The operators are provided with an easily understandable and intuitive interaction concept, enabling them to define the same efficient working sequences for all machines. Displays help visualise how and where to make the settings. The user can for example call up video sequences that show the changing of the film roll and the film knife. For other set-up work like the bag correction on the BEUMER paletpac, the operator panel includes graphics and step-by-step instructions.

At the end of the line, an employee with a fork-lift truck picks up the readily packaged pallets and delivers them to the outgoing goods, where they await pick-up. The biggest challenge for this project: "The packaging line had to be integrated into already existing buildings, spread over three different levels," says Sielemann. Because of their experience, the BEUMER Group experts were able to master this challenge. The systems are based on solutions that the engineers can easily adapt to the constructional requirements.

No downtime, flexible product changes

The packaging line is in operation since the second half of 2016. There has been no downtime since and the employees can easily accommodate product changes, exactly what Röfix wanted. Should any issues occur, the people responsible can always be sure of BEUMER Group's support. If necessary, BEUMER Group service employees based at the headquarters in Beckum, Germany can quickly and easily access the systems for remote maintenance and provide support.

"We are very satisfied," Welte summarises. "BEUMER Group provided us with a turnkey solution that runs smoothly." Sennhauser adds: "Ever since this line has been in operation, we have  always been available for our customers. With the new packaging, we can also guarantee added value such as greater load stability and efficient display of the products for an optimal brand presentation."

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"Our systems can map all customer processes"
Beckum, 09. August 2018

BEUMER Group: Interview with Gregor Baumeister, Head of Palletising and Packaging Systems Division, and Christian Freise, Senior Sales Manager Chemical Division

Mr Baumeister, as Head of the Palletising and Packaging Systems Division at BEUMER Group you manage and coordinate the global competence centre in this field. What are your goals?

Baumeister: With the management of the Palletising and Packaging Systems Division, I have taken on a highly exciting and varied task. Together with my team, I am responsible among other things for developing and expanding the comprehensive solutions portfolio. My goal is very simple: I want to continuously promote the worldwide growth of this business sector. To achieve this, we must establish ourselves in a regionally balanced manner that helps us support our customers throughout the world in the best possible way. We focus on industries with the potential for growth and sectors in which we are fully established as for example the chemical industry. We will continue to offer attractive intelligent solutions to our customers.

Mr Freise, you are part of the "Chemical team" within BEUMER Group. What are the tasks performed by you and your colleagues?

Freise: We take care of customers who are looking for packaging solutions in the chemical and petrochemical industry. With our team we combine specific industry knowledge with the knowledge of the available technologies. This may concern simple products or entire packaging lines. The requirements of the chemical sector, and especially in the petrochemical industry, are very specific. The design of our machines and systems can always be customised to meet the specific requirements of different industries - and especially of this sector. Of course we continue to develop our portfolio further. We also provide special solutions for particularly demanding tasks.

Could you explain in more detail the specific requirements related to the chemical industry? What is to be considered when handling this kind of product?

Freise: Chemical and petrochemical products are characterised by very different temperatures and special flow behaviour - completely different from cement, mortar or gypsum, which differ by their bulk density or grain size. The one thing they all have in common: they have to reach distributors and customers in perfect condition. They have to be filled, palletised and packaged carefully, yet quickly.

How do you meet these requirements? What do you do to provide your customers with the right systems?

Baumeister: We offer an extensive and modular range of products. Our group of companies has all of the necessary expertise to provide customised solutions even for highly complex material flow systems. Our systems are able to map all of our customers' processes for warehousing and moving raw, auxiliary and operating materials as well as semi-finished and finished products within a defined business division. This can be bulk material or piece goods filled in regular or big bags, cartons, barrels or buckets that are transported individually or on pallets. We deliver everything from one source enabling the customer to reduce vendor interactions and to have a single point of contact.

What can your customers expect? How can they for example fill the chemical products efficiently?

Freise: When BEUMER Group installs packaging lines for a customer in the chemical industry, the process may resemble this: bulk materials are transported from the silo to the form fill seal system BEUMER fillpac FFS. This filling machine forms a ready-made PE tubular film into a bag and fills it with the customer's engineered plastics like PE, PP, PA or PS granules. The BEUMER fillpac FSS is equipped with an electronic calibration-capable weighing unit which then weighs the bags before the filling process. It ensures that the bags are always filled with a constant quantity of material within specified tolerances. Afterwards the bags are sealed. This way it is possible to handle up to 2,600 25-kilogram bags per hour in the high-capacity range. Our product range also includes systems for lower throughputs.

Once the material has been filled into bags, they must be transported. What options are offered to your customers?

Freise: The filled bags, which may differ in size and weight, are stacked on pallets in a stable and precise way. For this, BEUMER Group offers the BEUMER paletpac. The high-level palletiser is modularly designed and can therefore be quickly assembled. It is easily accessible for maintenance, can be operated intuitively and adapts to different packing patterns. Often the companies belonging to this sector have to position the filled bags carefully, yet quickly and with precision. This is the reason why the BEUMER paletpac is equipped with a clamp-type or twin-belt turning device.

For items that are not filled into bags, but need to be packaged in cardboard boxes or canisters, we offer our customers the BEUMER robotpac. It is a space-saving articulated robot which solves complex palletising and de-palletising challenges reliably. We offer a suitable gripping system for each packaged product. Depending on the requirements, the palletised products may be required to stand securely on the loading space during transport, or be protected against dust, rain or other atmospheric influences for outdoor storage and during transshipment. This is why we have developed the high-capacity packaging system BEUMER stretch hood. It covers the products with a highly elastic stretch hood.

How do you achieve a simple and intuitive operation?

Baumeister: We provide all systems of the packaging line with the same Human Machine Interface (HMI). This operator panel provides users with an easily understandable and intuitive interaction concept, enabling them to define safe working sequences.

What happens at the end of these packaging lines?

Baumeister: With our system solutions, the full pallets or individual bags can be forwarded to a connected warehouse or directly to the loading space of a truck. The system components are mainly transport technologies such as conveyors or vehicle-based systems. We always use components from our modular system. This makes the solutions flexible and expandable and they can be adjusted to changing customer requirements, such as modifications or additions to the product and packaging portfolio.

How does BEUMER Group ensure continuous material and data tracing?

Freise: We make the filling, palletising and packaging systems as well as any additional system components compatible with each other. For this, BEUMER Group has developed the modular BG Software Suite as superordinate system. It can be adapted individually to particular tasks. Systems from other companies can be easily integrated. Customers can extend this solution at any time and improve their material flows. The cross-program user interface BG Fusion shows process data and reports. All available data can be accessed – without operators having to switch between different applications.

Do you also design entire concepts for material flows?

Baumeister: Of course. Depending on the complexity of the task, some applications can only be implemented on the PLC level. Others, in turn, require high-level material flow computers or warehouse control systems. BEUMER Group ensures communication between the different control levels for the user. This means we can create an intelligent connection between the individual systems, and integrate them into existing process and inventory control systems. And because we provide everything from one single source we can avoid potential errors that may come along with vendor interactions. Due to our vast experience in automation and control technology we are able to realize and install complex intralogistics tasks as one system provider.

What is your latest development in the field of packaging Systems?

Baumeister: We have developed the BEUMER Overall Operation Monitoring App, which enables both users and management to get an overview of data regarding the complete packaging line or of individual systems on their smartphones or tablets. The app shows the status of availability, performance and quality levels as well as the energy and compressed-air consumption. This ensures trouble-free operation of all systems. Customers can adapt the program to their specific requirements.

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In perfect condition to the customer
Beckum, 26. July 2018

BEUMER Group at the Fachpack 2018:

Coming up again in autumn – approx. 1,500 exhibitors will show future-oriented solutions and developments relating to packaging at the Fachpack from 25th to 27th September 2018. As a turnkey solution provider BEUMER Group will showcase tailor-made solutions for consumer goods – from the filling of bags up to packaged product stacks ready for transport, including control and comprehensive customer support.

At booth 121 in hall 1 BEUMER Group will show its competence in the field of packaging technology. The full liner delivers everything from one single source: The customer has only one single point of contact and avoids vendor interactions. The system supplier dimensions the performance of the single machines and components as well as the high-level control in an optimum way. Thus the operator receives a complete line with optimum throughput.

The BEUMER fillpac R filling machine fills bulk materials such as cement or building materials and other industrial pulverised goods into bags in an efficient and gentle way. It can fill very fine to very coarse materials into different bag formats and types, such as valve bottom bags and flat valve bags. BEUMER Group has now complemented the rotary filling machine with a BEUMER bag placer and a ream magazine. Due to its modular design, the BEUMER fillpac R can be easily integrated and adjusted with existing packaging lines.

The highly efficient form fill seal system BEUMER fillpac FFS is used in the chemical and petrochemical industries. It forms bags from a prefabricated tubular PE film, fills them with the product of the customer and seals them. BEUMER Group introduces the BEUMER fillpac FFS form fill seal system both for the high-capacity range of up to 2,600 bags per hour and for low throughputs up to 1,800 or 2,500 bags per hour. Depending on the customers' requirements the suitable machine performance class can be selected from the extended product range. Both the BEUMER fillpac R and the BEUMER fillpac FFS are equipped with a specialised weighing unit which ensures the correct quantity of the filled material.

In the next phase, the bags are stacked on pallets. For this, BEUMER Group offers the BEUMER paletpac high-capacity palletiser. It stacks even sensitive and valuable products as well as products with special flow characteristics in a gentle and efficient manner. Depending on the product requirements, it can be equipped with a clamp-type turning device or a twin-belt turning device.

BEUMER Group offers the BEUMER robotpac, a space-saving articulated robot, for palletising cartons, boxes, canisters or trays. This fully automatic articulated robot is able to solve even complex palletising and de-palletising challenges reliably and efficiently. BEUMER has developed fully automatic gripping systems that are easily exchangeable and suitable for each item to be packed.

The BEUMER stretch hood high capacity packaging system is at the heart of the packaging lines. In logistic centres for example, it covers the mixed pallet of merchandise with a highly elastic film hood, but also filled and palletised bags, boxes of detergent, buckets of paint or storage jars stacked on pallets. During transshipment and outside storage, the merchandise is protected reliably against environmental influences such as sunlight, dirt and humidity. This is important for the operators who need their products to be transported reliably and in perfect condition to the customers.

The BEUMER bag-in-bag offered by the system provider packages one or several filled paper bags quickly and reliably in a weather-resistant plastic film. This ensures that the contents are perfectly protected against moisture, dust, insect infestation and other environmental factors when they are transported or stored. The system can be easily integrated in existing filling or packaging Systems.

BEUMER at the Fachpack 2018, hall 1, booth 121

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Transformation is inevitable
Beckum, 24. July 2018

BEUMER Group is shaping digital transformation in intralogistics:

Industry, economy and society are in the midst of digital transformation. It is a fact that it is inevitable since customers do not want to do without the plus in comfort they have become used to in many areas. But what are the consequences? Above all, many of the boundaries between industries so far known are losing importance, and that is precisely where the future challenges lie. The questions that arise are: Who is driving transformation, and will the suppliers of today be those of tomorrow? At any rate, BEUMER Group is getting in shape for the digital future.

Logistics is one of the industries where the influence of digital transformation is particularly strong since digital logistics renders substantial benefits in costs, transparency and speed. The smart integration of digital technologies can especially make intralogistics more efficient and environmentally safe. The ever-growing online commerce is driving this process. The degree of networking, automation and system integration increases along with the progressive development of goods flows in e-commerce and the topic of returns involved in it. Today's supply chains are consistently organised and interlinked – from the sources of raw material up to the delivery of products to the customer's front door and beyond, up to returns, disposal and recycling.

As a system supplier, BEUMER Group provides e-commerce companies and logistics centres with high-speed sortation systems. Their capacities can be adapted to the constantly increasing demands of users. "We must constantly improve our products to increase our competitiveness so that our customers can reduce their costs and optimise their processes," explains Dr Christoph Beumer, Chairman and CEO of BEUMER Group based in Beckum, Germany. For this reason, the system supplier has integrated innovation management into his strategy for many years now and applied for nearly 100 patents. For its consistent and multifaceted commitment in this field, BEUMER Group received the Axia Award 2017, which is awarded to medium-sized businesses for their successful and sustainable corporate management. In the age of digital transformation, however, it is not only the improvement of internal processes that counts, but also the development of new business models. It is not merely a matter of optimising existing concepts. "We have to create something new. Machinery and systems become more efficient and offer ever-increasing speeds," says Dr Beumer.

Setting new trends instead of missing them

The worst-case scenario of any industry is simply missing out on new trends. This may have disastrous consequences for market leaders. One example is analogue photography. Agfa, a German company, succeeded in gaining an excellent reputation in more than 100 years of company history. Agfa developed the first developer fluid for films and the first flash lamp, the first safety film and the first fully automatic camera – but not the first digital camera. This was developed by an engineer of Kodak. His employer, however, kept this innovation unused in a secret drawer for a long time. This soon turned out to be a fatal mistake: In the nineteen-nineties, competitors such as Apple, Casio and Canon introduced the first digital cameras for large-scale use onto the market and swept aside the two most successful photographic companies world-wide up to that date. Those who do not face up to digital transformation in time, will be the losers.

"The mechanical engineering and intralogistics industries may suffer the same fate as regards 3D print technology. If it becomes possible to produce a steel girder using this technology in the future, this will revolutionise the entire sector," predicts Dr Beumer. A completely new kind of warehousing might emerge. Instead of keeping a large stock of spare parts at any time, items would only be printed on demand. The time and number of items could be precisely controlled and expensive ordering processes would be eliminated. "We send the drawings of the spare part to our subsidiaries in Thailand or Brazil, our colleagues print the component via 3D printing and we do not need to transport it by ship across the ocean for weeks," says Dr Beumer.

Augmented reality saves travel time and costs

It will neither be necessary to send qualified service technicians overseas for weeks. The following scenario is quite conceivable: The responsible employees on site are equipped with 3D glasses. They focus on the object with their mobile device. Through auto-ID characteristics on the logistic element, e.g. a conveyor, and an app specially developed for this purpose, information on this element can be displayed, such as circuit diagrams, maintenance instructions or pin assignments. The required data is displayed on the live image of the camera of the device. The technicians look at the defective part and can immediately call up all related manuals or goods in stock. Every process step is displayed. In the event of very complex processes, they could, for example, call a colleague at the company location and solve the problem together with them via live stream.

BEUMER Group already uses tablets successfully at several airports that operate its baggage handling systems. This includes Singapore Changi Airport. As one of the main hubs for Southeast Asia, this airport is known to be very progressive and passenger-friendly. The baggage handling system was developed and integrated by BEUMER Group. The system supplier is exclusively responsible for ensuring trouble-free operation, optimum maintenance and therefore the long-term coordination of the baggage handling systems. The Customer Support employees provide 24/7 operation at the baggage control rooms and necessary preventive maintenance to ensure continuous system availability and best performance.

Actively shaping progress instead of trying to keep up with it

You cannot stop progress. The question is who is driving it. Similar to the automotive industry, which is challenged by electric mobility and deals with the issue of who is going to develop and manufacture the vehicles and, above all, the drives in future, the intralogistics companies will soon be challenged by competitors who are not only from their own sector. Today they are Apple, Google and Facebook, also in this sector – and, in the case of BEUMER Group, even Spotify. The system supplier's product range does not include music, but its sortation systems were used for sorting or distributing CDs for the music industry. With the streaming services becoming more popular and CD production and sales significantly decreasing, this industry no longer needs sortation systems. "This was only a small niche sector, but it may also happen with any other of our industries," fears Dr Beumer. "With our systems, we equip the baggage handling area of airports all over the world. However, there are service providers who pick up the baggage at the front door and take it directly to the destination. Passengers no longer have to take care themselves." The so-called 'Unicorn Club', i.e. start-ups whose assessed potential corresponds to billions, is steadily growing. Should suppliers like BEUMER Group wait until they are swept aside by these developments?

Developing disruptive models from within

Certainly not. As a family business, BEUMER Group has a responsibility for its employees and customers. This is why the system supplier responds to these major changes and opted for fostering disruptive ideas by founding its own start-ups: "We have two spin-off companies which we have started to complement our existing innovation department," explains Dr Beumer. "They develop so-called minimum viable products, that is, prototypes that feature minimum equipment, whose market potential is checked until they have reached market readiness."

The BEUMER start-up BG.evolution is located in Dortmund in the immediate vicinity of the innovation centre Digital.Hub Logistics. Here, companies and researchers work together to design the logistics for digital business models. Developments include, for example, an app enabling users to keep an eye on the current status of the machinery connected to their system via their smart phones or tablets.

Furthermore, BG.challenge was founded in Berlin. Here, the focus is on developing new business models which may disrupt existing business models from outside. BG.challenge offers start-up support for young entrepreneurs. "This helps us get ready for the future and puts us in a great position for the digital age," says Dr Beumer.

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