Parallel shaft gearbox from ABM impresses Zasche
Parallel shaft gearbox from ABM Greiffenberger impresses Zasche
Nicely put-together powerhouse

Development, production and sale of ergonomic handling equipment is Zasche handling GmbH’s metier. In the construction of a new electrically driven balancer, the company with headquarters in Bavarian Nördlingen received the support of Marktredwitz-based ABM Greiffenberger. The system provider delivered a tailored drive system consisting of a parallel shaft gear and a converter completely meeting the manufacturer’s requirements for performance, ergonomics and energy efficiency.

Since its establishment in 1932, Zasche has evolved from a specialist in structural steelwork and crane construction to a leading manufacturer of manual handling equipment in Germany. The company’s portfolio includes manipulators, slewing cranes, light duty crane systems and lifting equipment. Over the last few years one topic has come to the forefront: demographic change and with it the rising average age of employees in industrial enterprises. This especially plays a role when parts must be moved during production, further processing or order picking. Back and musculoskeletal disorders cause substantial damage to the economy and to companies. They are a common reason for sick leave and reduced performance. ‘A large share of these illnesses can be attributed to incorrect load handling and it is precisely here that we want to provide “relief” in the truest sense of the word and at the same time optimise workflows,’ says Erwin Wagner, Managing Director of Zasche.

The company has drawn consequences from this: constant improvement of ergonomic handling equipment, greater networking of components and use of modern high-performance materials such as carbon characterise the strategic alignment of the company, which achieves an annual turnover of around 14 million euros with a staff of 120. ‘Our customers expect reliable, ergonomic solutions that ease the load on employees and can be operated intuitively,’ outlines Wagner. The solutions have to satisfy high safety requirements without limiting the practicality. In addition, especially for complex workflows, it must be possible to achieve a high repeatability and thus increase the process reliability through semi-automation.

Conventional handling up against its limits
According to Erwin Wagner, constantly rising customer demands for ergonomics, safety and lifting speeds can no longer be satisfactorily met with conventional solutions such as chain hoists and winches. This prompted the development department at Zasche to come up with something new: the electronic E-Balancer for performing challenging tasks without a compressed air supply. All tasks related to picking up, transporting and positioning loads can be carried out precisely with it. With the joining mode the worker can directly position and join parts manually without using any other operating elements. The E-Balancer has a special handle for fatigue-free work. Continuous load monitoring ensures safe transport; plug & play connections make it especially service-friendly. Freely programmable operating modes are available for guidance and joining.

The right partner: ABM Greiffenberger
Zasche also needed a suitable drive solution for the E-Balancer. The requirements were clearly defined in the functional specification: it had to be robust and simultaneously lightweight and have a long life and a high efficiency. In addition sensitive motor control over the entire speed range was required. Zasche knew where a suitable project partner could be found. ‘We’ve maintained a good relationship with global supplier ABM Greiffenberger Antriebstechnik GmbH for years and value its high level of competence in drive and converter technology,’ says Erwin Wagner. After initial talks ABM employees were on site for detailed project planning and purposefully discussed the complex work and safety aspects. They presented several proposals, carried out thorough tests and manufactured prototypes on short notice.

The intense cooperation was successful and ABM submitted a tailor-made concept. ‘The motor–gearbox combination used is based on a solution from our standard range for the parallel shaft gearbox series,’ says ABM Managing Director Robert Lackermeier. These gearboxes impress through a compact design with low space requirements. Their high-quality teeth provide for quiet and long life. Users are offered a large number of mounting options and operation is very efficient: the gearboxes are maintenance-free. ‘Our engineers have profound know-how in lifting technology. They developed and implemented specific adaptations for the lifting equipment application and its safety requirements,’ says Lackermeier.

Expectations fully met
The drive solution from ABM Greiffenberger impressed Zasche. ‘Up to now experiences have only been positive,’ Erwin Wagner is happy to say. A high reliability is guaranteed through the use of a gear unit suitable for lifting applications. ‘Over the entire speed range our employees can work with a sensitive speed control system. This makes precise positioning of parts easier,’ he says. Zasche also profits from the very good control and regulation capabilities of the drive in connection with the jointly developed safety solution. The gear unit is also characterised by high performance at a low weight. Erwin Wagner summarises: ‘On the part of the motor, gearbox unit and control hardware, all expectations were fully met.’

Industry 4.0 is also an important topic for Zasche. The solution from ABM Greiffenberger: The drive system comprising of parallel shaft gearbox and converter enables reliable remote maintenance. Users immediately receive support through this. When necessary Zasche has access to information such as operating times, load cycles or operating state and can analyse these data accordingly.

A big advantage: one-stop service
Erwin Wagner also has words of praise for the quality of the cooperation with ABM Greiffenberger. ‘The cooperation with partners in technology and sales was always very positive and cooperative. Problems were handled pragmatically and rapidly,’ he says. He identifies the fact that ABM supplied the complete drive including the converter as a great advantage for smooth project completion. Zasche also sees a suitable partner in the system provider for future projects. Erwin Wagner: ‘We are already working on using other gearbox sizes from the ABM range.’

Figure 1 (Zasche): Erwin Wagner, Managing Director of Zasche handling GmbH: ‘Up to now experiences with the drive system from ABM have only been positive.’

Figure 2 (ABM): Robert Lackermeier, Managing Director of ABM Greiffenberger: ‘ABM is not just a system supplier, but also a development partner.’

Figure 3 (ABM): The ABM parallel shaft gear in combination with the converter enables sensitive speed control over the entire rpm range.

Figure 4 (Zasche): The E-Balancer can be used for delicate work and exact positioning.

Figures: ABM Greiffenberger Antriebstechnik GmbH and ZASCHE handling GmbH