Sustainable residual dirt prevention through perfect binder cleaning.

The Zumtobel Group’s innovative lighting solutions must meet the highest ergonomic, economic and ecological standards. This requires compliance with the strictest cleanliness requirements. At the luminaire plant in Dornbirn, not only the parts are cleaned, but also the transport containers. The changeover to a BUPI CLEANER® POWERTEC KLT small load carrier cleaning system not only brought improved cleaning results and working conditions, but also increased process stability and a significant reduction in electricity and water consumption.

Light creates perspectives. For over 60 years, the Zumtobel Group has been developing lighting solutions that meet the highest ergonomic, economic and ecological demands and create aesthetic added value. The company, headquartered in Dornbirn, is one of the few global players in the lighting industry. The Zumtobel Group pursues a multi-brand strategy and covers all application areas of professional lighting with its Zumtobel, Thorn and acdc luminaire brands. With the Tridonic brand, the company also has its own expertise in innovative lighting components and systems.

Quality and durability

The fact that outstanding design and top quality are not just empty phrases at the Zumtobel Group is demonstrated by the fact that both Zumtobel and Thorn offer a five-year guarantee. To ensure and continuously improve the outstanding product and service quality required for this, the company has implemented a comprehensive quality management system.

“An essential prerequisite for the high product quality we guarantee our customers is the uncompromising cleanliness of all components required in the production process,” says Reinhard Radoszticz. As Group Manager, he is responsible for the production of Zumtobel and Thorn brand office and project luminaires at the Zumtobel Group’s largest plant. “In order to meet the strict cleanliness requirements, it is not enough just to clean the components themselves between the individual production steps.”

Container cleaning indispensable

“Even the cleanest parts are easily contaminated by the repeatedly used transport containers,” says Martin Schäffer, technical project assistant prefabrication at the Dornbirn plant . “It is therefore indispensable to clean these containers and thus prevent dirt from entering during transport.”

Zumtobel recognised this almost two decades ago and purchased a catering dishwasher for this purpose. Supplemented by a washing station for removing stubborn, mostly oily contaminants by hand, this had met the requirements for a long time. However, the number of transport containers circulating in the factory has steadily increased over the years. Today, about 300 containers of all 18 types in use undergo cleaning per shift. In view of this, the throughput times had become an ever greater problem. Moreover, these were difficult to plan, because the necessity of manual pre-cleaning could not be determined in advance. This also led to difficulties in scheduling staff for this understandably unpopular activity.

Time for new methods

The production planners had already been thinking about alternatives for several years. “The goal of our considerations was a standardised, simple process with which consistent quality can be achieved even with varying degrees of contamination,” explains Reinhard Radoszticz “At the same time, productivity should increase and operation should require little training or prior qualification.”

The environmental aspect also played a significant role in these considerations. “The existing machine had a monthly water consumption of 1,500 litres,” explains Martin Schäffer. “Although the saving is minimal in terms of cost, a significant reduction of this resource consumption seemed desirable in view of the sustainability claim of our own products.”

The way to the solution

In the search for the right solution, the Zumtobel Group started looking at completely different approaches in 2010. Pass-through cleaning systems were quickly ruled out due to a lack of flexibility with the relatively low throughput, and catering dishwashers due to the unreliable cleaning results.

The breakthrough came during a visit to the parts2clean trade fair in Stuttgart. There Reinhard Radoszticz met Johann Pamminger from MAP PAMMINGER GmbH, the sales partner of BUPI Golser Maschinenbau GmbH for Austria. After a thorough examination of the requirements, he presented an overall concept based on a BUPI CLEANER® POWERTEC KLT from BUPI Golser.

The space-saving, compact two-bath cleaning system with lifting door was specifically developed for cleaning small load carriers (KLT). During the cleaning process, the containers are pushed manually into the large cleaning basket and rotate horizontally in the system, whose wetted parts are all made of stainless steel. They are cleaned from three sides with hot cleaning medium, rinsed and then hot-air dried. Pumps of energy efficiency class IE3 from the premium manufacturer Grundfos ensure reliably high, uniform pressure and high volume flow. The KLT series is equipped with Siemens controls and is particularly easy to operate.

Result process improvement

When the need for a repair of the old machine became apparent, the decision was made to no longer carry this out and instead to invest in an improved future-proofing of the production line by purchasing the industrial container cleaning system.

Since spring 2015, the system with a footprint of only 2.7 x 2.3 m has been in operation. “From day one, we achieved a consistently perfect cleaning result despite varying degrees of contamination and without manual pre-cleaning,” Reinhard Radoszticz is pleased to report. “Thanks to the easy-to-operate Siemens control system, we can entrust the cleaning of the containers to any kind of staff without much training, even to holiday trainees.” In addition, since the BUPI CLEANER® POWERTEC KLT was put into operation, the working time required for cleaning the containers has been reduced by 60 %, so that the employees who used to be assigned exclusively to this task are freed up for valuable work elsewhere in the production process.

The steam extraction system included as standard not only ensures a clean and pleasant working environment. It also ensures that the ambient conditions at the nearby coating and foaming plants do not change.

Sustainable investment

The system cleans 12 large or 48 small standard containers per cycle. “Initially, we worked with the basic factory setting of 20 minutes programme duration and 80°C cleaning temperature,” Martin Schäffer reports. “By optimising step by step, we determined the optimum setting, which, at 18 minutes at 60°C, results in noticeably lower energy consumption compared to the manufacturer’s specifications.”
Zumtobel was also able to significantly reduce water consumption with the BUPI CLEANER® KLT. Since the cleaning solution remains in the machine, where it is kept in good condition by means of fine filtration, among other things, this is reduced from 1,500 litres per month to 1,000 litres per cleaning bath exchange every 6 months.

With the help of the small load carrier cleaning system, the process managers ensure that Zumtobel’s cleanliness targets are met in an efficient, economically and ecologically sustainable manner. With food comes appetite, and so the system’s areas of application are constantly expanding. In the meantime, it is no longer only transport containers that are cleaned, but also, for example, the brush plates of the laser cutting machines. The BUPI CLEANER® KLT has thus become an indispensable part of the production facilities.


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