RheinfelsQuellen H. Hövelmann GmbH & Co. KG (founded in 1905) based in Duisburg-Walsum is one of the ten largest mineral water companies in Germany. The approximately 750 employees of the company fill water from 13 mineral wells of the Rheinaue spring deposit. The product range is complemented by spritzers, (ice) teas and flavoured waters.

Head Office:Duisburg, Germany

Industry:Beverage industry



Requirements and challenge:

RheinfelsQuellen H. Hövelmann GmbH & Co. KG (Rheinfels) has partially reorganised its intralogistics. In the past, the company mainly used diesel forklifts from Linde outdoors, but for some time now a special forklift has supplemented the fleet: an A80-900X from Carer - supplied to Rheinfels by Degener-Staplertechnik. This vehicle is part of the first completely electric series that can also be used outdoors 365 days per year. The series has an IP rating certifying protection against the ingress of dust and water.

However, in order to be able to work adequately in multiple shift operation at the RheinfelsQuellen site in Duisburg-Walsum, the Italian power pack needs not only a two-part battery. It also requires a suitable attachment for the full and empty containers. Because that is the main task of every forklift at Rheinfels: unloading incoming trucks and loading them with new beverage pallets.

Speed and efficiency are crucial. The nine bottling plants in total at RheinfelsQuellen can fill up to 250,000 bottles per hour. And this quantity must be handled.

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Solution and benefits:

Multi-pallet handlers, also called multi-pallet clamps or multi-pallet forks, are the best solution for the Rheinfels requirements. KAUP has been supplying these attachments to Hövelmann in Duisburg for some time. The KAUP six-pallet handlers are considered to be very robust as standard and are therefore well suited for heavy duty applications. Their relatively low weight ensures very good residual load capacities. And the very good visibility conditions allow high working speeds. But these characteristics alone are not enough to cope with the high volumes handled at Rheinfels. Therefore KAUP has optimised its attachment, the six-pallet handler 10T429-4-6, for this application. It has now been in use for several months in a special configuration.

Two main elements are striking: hydraulic load stops on all forks and additional cylinders. Why is the attachment equipped with these? In addition to the high handling volume at Rheinfels, the different pallet sizes used are also challenging: sometimes Euro pallets, then Düsseldorf pallets, then well pallets. Often even different pallet types on one truck. The six-pallet handler has these adaptations in order to be prepared for these regular, quick changes.

For example, the usable fork length can be quickly reduced from 2,350 mm to 2,150 mm with the load stops. The safe loading and unloading of different pallet types is thus possible at any time, without great loss of time and without other, sometimes more cost-intensive accessories such as cameras or lasers. The two additional hydraulic cylinders increase the flexibility of the attachment for the handling of different pallet types. Because all multi-pallet handlers from KAUP only need two cylinders as standard. They are used for the synchronous opening and closing of the fork pairs.

But this type of fork adjustment is occasionally not sufficient. That is why KAUP uses two additional hydraulic cylinders at Rheinfels, each of which has an influence on a fork tine. For a better understanding: if the total of six fork tines is divided into two pairs of three tines, each of the additional cylinders then controls the middle tine of the respective "three-pair". It ensures that the distance between middle and outer fork can be changed according to the load. The overall control of the six-pallet handler has been revised so that this interaction functions. The individual fork pairs can now be controlled independently of each other. Additional solenoid valves also help to control the load stops.

KAUP has integrated a classic stabilising spring at this point to ensure that the inner forks are always where they should be and do not unintentionally reduce the working speed when retracted. A known element. The separate side shift cylinder on the clamp body is also known. It moves the attachment up to 160 mm, regardless of the fork position.

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