automated concrete plant

Concrete pipes, manhole and box culverts are heavy, unwieldy items, difficult to move and easy to damage, especially in their uncured state. Our HawkeyePedershaab and BFS brands take the physical and emotional stress out of the production equation through their full range of automated concrete product handling solutions. Whether the need is carefully transporting freshly-produced 300mm (12”) concrete pipe from the pipe machine to the curing area, where the slightest accelerations can damage the product, or the need is taking a cured 3000mm (120”) concrete pipe, removing its massive pallet and header and transporting it out of the building, untouched by human hands, Afinitas brings you the expertise and experience in handling the task. Through our combined HawkeyePedershaab and BFS offering of product handling solutions for nearly every conceivable concrete product – you’ll find systems for the processing of round pipe, elliptical pipe, box culverts, manhole risers, cones, catch basins, bases  and slabs – and combinations thereof.

HawkeyePedershaab and BFS Product Handling Equipment

HawkeyePedershaab demolding crane

Automatic Demolding Cranes

Whether the machine is self-stripping, crane-stripping or a packerhead, Afinitas offers automatic and reliable solutions for moving fresh concrete pipes from the machine to the curing area. This is often the most critical piece of automation in the factory, ensuring the plant’s efficiency and productivity remains at the highest levels, day after day.

  • Reduces labor and ensures consistent machine cycle times
  • Increases plant safety by keeping team members at a distance from the operation
  • Advanced drive and positioning systems ensure precise control of all movements
  • High performance integrated process control systems
  • Available in multiple configurations and adaptable to both moving floor and open floor plant layouts
concrete pipe floor moving system

Moving Floor Systems

An effective way to cure your concrete products is to use a moving floor system. Such a system immediately brings your concrete products into a humidity and heat-controlled environment and advances them through a carefully-controlled curing process that in approximately 6-8 hours, results in a sufficiently cured product that can be automatically handled with confidence.

Our moving floor systems consist of a series of large, flat pallets, on which the concrete products are placed, that ride on floor-mounted rails and are carefully controlled by floor-mounted rubber drive wheels – advancing the concrete products through pre-cure, curing, and post-cure chambers and ultimately to an automatic unloading station where the cured products are removed from the flat pallet. The unit is then returned to the production machine for more products.

  • Variable-frequency controlled rubber drive wheels allow for careful acceleration and de-acceleration of concrete products to prevent damage
  • RFID system for each flat pallet to ensure proper identification of products throughout the entire production process.

set ring removal

Concrete Pipe Set Ring Removal

In automatic concrete factories that are using temporary set rings rather than stay-in-place headers, we provide robotic manipulators to remove the set ring from the concrete pipe or manhole after the concrete has had its initial set and return it to the machine for re-use.

This is a critical safety element in the factory as it prevents plant staff from entering areas of operating automatic equipment. In addition, we provide set ring retrieval solutions for both moving floor curing systems and open–floor, overhead crane-based curing solutions.

  • Eliminates costly plant labor
  • Increases plant safety by keeping workers away from automatic equipment
  • Automatic adjustment to all set ring sizes
  • Adaptable to both moving floor and open floor plant layouts

pipe handling crane

Automatic Pipe Handling Cranes

In order to keep the production machine in an automatic concrete factory running at its peak efficiency, it is important to eliminate any downstream bottlenecks. A common factory bottleneck is getting the cured concrete products out of the curing system to make room for new, fresh products.

Afinitas offers numerous solutions for this task for many different plant layouts, including both moving floor and open floor curing setups.

  • Eliminates costly plant labor and ensures consistent machine cycle times
  • Increases plant safety by keeping plant staff at a distance from the operation
  • Automatic adjustment between all product sizes
  • Capable of handling round, box, arch and oval shaped concrete products
  • Soft, computer-controlled motions to prevent product damage
  • Adaptable to both moving floor and open floor plant layouts
pallet removal

Pallet Removal from Cured Concrete Products

One of the most time-consuming processes in a concrete pipe or manhole factory is the removal of the pallet from the cured product. Therefore, we have designed numerous de-palletizing solutions, each tailored to the specific task required. Our de-palletizing solutions are uniquely effective in their use of a combination of horizontal, high-frequency pneumatic tapping and vertical hydraulic pulling, ensuring a quick and gentle removal of the pallet from the concrete product.

In fully-automatic systems, the pipe or manhole is introduced into the de-palletizer using an automatic manipulator and in standalone or semi-integrated systems, the concrete pipe is carried to the de-palletizer using a fork truck or electric transport cart.

  • Eliminates dangerous and time-consuming labor
  • Protects pallets from manual sledgehammer damage
  • Flat surface with clean-out pit below for easy clean up
  • Ability to pull from the outside or inside of the pallet
  • Easily replaceable pulling-bits
  • Capable of pulling round, square, oval or arch-shaped pallets
  • When loading with a fork truck, ability to handle out-of-center product
  • Automatic adjustment to all pallet sizes

Header Removal from Concrete Pipe

Removing headers (top rings) from cured concrete pipe is a delicate, time-consuming process that, if done improperly, can result in a damaged or pulled spigot – necessitating the scrapping of the concrete pipe. HawkeyePedershaab’s patented header removal system utilizes the principle of “D-Wedge” to carefully and consistently remove the header without damaging the spigot.

HawkeyePedershaab header removal systems engage a machined groove in the header at either two or four points, and use a combination of pneumatic tapping and gentle hydraulic pulling to quickly remove the header.

In fully-automatic systems, the header removal device is built into the product manipulator and in stand-alone or semi-integrated systems, the pipe is carried to the header removal station using a fork truck or electric transport cart.

  • Eliminates dangerous and time-consuming labor
  • Protect headers from sledgehammer or dropping damage
  • Patented “D-Wedge” removal system to protect spigots
  • Easily-replaceable pulling bits
  • Capable of pulling round, square, oval or arch-shaped headers
  • Occurs simultaneous to pallet removal for reduced cycle time
  • Automatic adjustment to all header sizes
Pipe tipper

Concrete Product Tippers

As concrete pipes are manufactured and cured vertically, it is necessary in most cases to tip them horizontally for storage and transport. Due to the weight of the product, tipping the concrete pipe can be both a dangerous and time-consuming operation. Automatic tippers make quick work of this operation and remove the human operator for maximum safety.

  • Eliminates costly plant labor
  • Increases plant safety by keeping workers at a distance from the operation.
  • Capable of handling round, box, arch, and oval shaped products.
  • Soft, computer-controlled motions to prevent product damage.
Pipe sorting machinery

Concrete Pipe Sorting Systems

One of the benefits and hallmarks of mass production systems is their ability to process two or even three sizes of concrete pipe simultaneously, reducing pallet and mold investment as well as increasing plant flexibility. In automated systems, Afinitas provides sorting systems as the final step in the robotic pipe handling process to sort the pipe into like diameters for easy yarding by fork trucks. We offer two distinct solutions for this task, using either an overhead stockyard crane or a turntable coupled with three separate outfeed rails, allowing the customer to choose whatever system best fits the plant layout.

  • High-speed sorting systems allow for buffering of concrete pipe, preventing the fork truck driver from stopping the entire production line
  • Sorting pipe into like sizes allows for fast and logical fork truck activity
spigot and bell deburring

Spigot and Bell Deburring

In order to improve a concrete pipe’s cosmetic appearance, it is helpful to deburr the inner and outer joint shoulders of the pipe’s bell and spigot. We automate this process through the use of pneumatic-powered crushing cones, pulverizing the fins on the pipe shoulder and leaving crisp, sharp joint shoulders. Our  deburring systems are customizable to include both inner and outer deburring to both the spigot and bell or any combination of the above.

  • Reduce costly and dangerous labor
  • Improve pipe cosmetics
  • Computer-controlled pneumatic crushing pressure adapts to cone wear
  • Easy replacement of special A1 tool steel crushing cones
  • Fast cycle time prevents deburring from being a factory bottleneck
  • Automatic adjustment between all pipe diameters
  • Able to deburr round, oval and arch shaped pipe
printing device for printing on pipe inside and outside

Concrete Pipe Printing – Inside and Outside

Afinitas offers printing solutions for both the inside and outside of pipes. The printing equipment is complete with a structure to support and guide the printing device, a linear actuator, and a 32-valve, one-color ink jet printer with a five gallon ink supply and a low ink warning indicator. The printing equipment automatically actuates when the concrete product enters the marking station. The pipe printer is able to print a wide range of figures and letters and is integrated to an operator’s interface so that all pipes can be marked with a production reference, date, manufacturer’s code or logo. Additionally, the printer can be integrated with the vacuum test station or a bell/spigot measuring system to indicate a passed vacuum test.

  • Reduces labor
  • Allows for dates, production references, manufacturer’s codes and/or logos to be placed on pipe
  • Quick operation prevents any plant bottlenecks
  • Automatically adjusts between all pipe size