Christian Hagmaier
Christian Hagmaier

After being successfully introduced in Europe and Asia, Interroll's modular conveyor platform is also produced in the United States for quicker on-site delivery.

The powerful, future-proof solution has been available to US systems integrators and their customers interested in achieving especially efficient material flow for 1,5 years now. The modular conveyor platform excels due to its unique flexibility, low operating costs, open data interfaces, and the greatest ease of installation and maintenance.

After all, those who want to implement powerful material flow solutions have to expect constantly changing tasks in the dynamic market of intralogistics that such a system has to fulfil during its long service life. Ultimately, users have to be able to flexibly react to short-term changes in the order structures and the range of products. Rigid mass processing of identical goods has become the exception to the rule. Having to deal with shorter order cycles and quick packaging size and weight changes is becoming increasingly more frequent. At the same time, the solution must also be able to be easily incorporated into tomorrow's changing IT environments, which is known as "Industry 4.0."

Various applicability awakes strong interest from the market

As the Global Product Mangager for the Modular Conveyor Platform at Interroll Automation GmbH in Sinsheim, Germany, I know how important it is for OEM's and integrators to deliver a customized solution in a really short time:

In order to meet these requirements for maximum flexibility, we developed a completely new conveyor platform that we have been providing our customers since the second half of 2014. It is an industry-first which integrates our proven plug & play module and standard components, feature a fully modular design.

There is strong interest in this solution: Interroll has already received about 2500 orders from system integrators and manufacturing plants.

The sizes range from small conveyor systems to large applications that involved implementing conveyors up to four kilometres. Given the high demand and the complexity of the projects, it is therefore no wonder that the platform's development required the highest amount of internal interaction between supplier logistics, production processes, and assembly, especially since it involved introducing an entirely new product. Teamwork, learning ability, responsiveness, and close cooperation with the customers were necessary in order to rise to these challenges. Through the close cooperation of all parties, the inevitable start-up complications were quickly corrected. The internal organizational structure was also unified and adjusted to the changed market needs.

The platform is now being used in practically all sectors that Interroll is focused on, from production plants and e-commerce to traditional mail order and distribution. One of the most well-known users with another unusual application—in a packaging plant in Milan—is Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Rolex.

Modular solution for easy configuration and installation

The reasons for this broad interest are many and varied. They certainly include the solution's universal design, which can handle material that weighs up to 50 kg and package sizes starting at 200 mm x 150 mm. If desired, systems can even be designed to easily handle transporting polybags. Customers can choose 24V or 400V drives for maximum energy efficiency or conveyor capacity. Electro-mechanical diverters also facilitate high sorting performance. In order to meet high energy efficiency requirements and ensure a low noise working environment, Interroll generally refrained from using pneumatic actuators in the new conveyor platform.

But that is still not enough: Just as important as the feasible range of applications is the modularity of the platform, which—similar to the LEGO brick principle— can be flexibly configured and expanded using standard components. This not only makes installation and maintenance easier, but it also provides short delivery times and gives system integrators key benefits as soon as the planning phase. Thanks to the user-friendly planning software that Interroll provides free of charge, customers can quickly and easily configure conveyor solutions themselves.

As a result, customers immediately have an extensive parameterized conveyor list at their disposal that provides all the necessary data for their engineering process. Hagmaier:

And for demanding applications, we made sure our platform can be connected to higher-level IT systems through pre-cabled fieldbus technologies such as EtherCat, Profinet, or EtherNet/IP.

Modular Conveyor Platform: After Europe and Asia ready for launch in the US

Through the consistent application of the group-wide Interroll production system (IPS), which is based on the Japanese Kaizen philosophy thereby ensuring that the company's solutions are manufactured around the world in the same quality, the modular conveyor platform is also being produced in the US, namely in the regional Center of Excellence in Wilmington, North Carolina.

After Sinsheim in Germany and Suzhou in China, Wilmington is the world's third production site for the new conveyor platform. Thanks to the intensive preparation and extensive exchange of knowledge by the experts in the global Center of Excellence in Sinsheim, nothing stands in the way of production. The US launch is an important milestone in Interroll's internationalization strategy. After all, local system integrators everywhere aren't the only ones to have access to the industry's leading conveyor platform now; internationally operating system integrators can now also reliably offer their customers a standardized quality solution in all of the world's important regions.

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