News

11.05.20 - Thank you for doing your part

Dear STOPA friends, at STOPA we’ve been working in coronavirus mode since mid-March. This has required flexibility and a willingness to compromise on everyone’s part.

Almost all of our office employees have been working from home. It has even been possible to do complicated CAD editing remotely.

In order to comply with the rules for physical distancing in production, we have been operating in several shifts. Customer service continues to be available.

To all those who have been working for the company under these difficult conditions and have “kept the ball rolling”, we say THANK YOU. This has enabled us to keep our customers supplied and stay in touch with them.

We’re enormously proud of how everyone has given their best and pulled together. Thank you for your great commitment during this difficult time.

May you and your families stay healthy. We’ll stick together!

 

The Management

10.05.20 - Fit for the future with in-house painting booths

Energy-efficient and environmentally friendly cleaning and painting of storage systems

For the wet painting of storage systems, a plant engineering company has designed and installed a cleaning and painting plant that includes an overhead conveyor system optimised for ergonomics, efficiency and environmentally friendly consumables. 

The Stopa company from Achern was founded in 1963 and now has 230 employees who generate a turnover of around €70 million with the production of car park systems, machine components and storage systems. These storage systems are used, for example, to supply material from Trumpf's laser, punching and sheet metal processing centres. In-house surface treatment of the products has proven to be a good solution for Stopa because it makes the company independent and able to react fast to various requirements. Quality and reliability are also the company’s responsibility, and this is why it decided to invest in a new pretreatment and painting plant. During the planning phase, the decision-makers also examined the possibility of switching to powder coating of the workpieces. However, the practical advantages of wet painting outweighed the disadvantages involved in the coating of heavy workpieces and pre-assembled components. 

Wet painting – the first choice 

Using high-solid and water-dilutable 2K paint systems significantly reduces the burden on the environment and meets the company's quality standards – and it is still possible to paint finished assemblies and systems in the factory or to rework them at the customer's site after assembly if required. 

A works hall was available that offered 50% more space than the total area of the previous paint plant – and that was ideal for setting up the new pretreatment and painting plant at Stopa. Nevertheless, it was still a demanding task to accommodate the equipment in the hall, because the almost square floor plan and the positions of the hall gates necessitated custom arrangement of the plant components and the conveyor system. The complete installation and equipment package proposed by Noppel quickly met with the approval of the management and technicians of Stopa Anlagenbau GmbH. One key point was the optimal arrangement of the plant components around the centrally integrated conveyor system. 

In the loading and unloading area of the new plant, the workers first load the suspension trolleys, then transport the workpieces to the individual stations. Next the workpieces are cleaned in the preparation booth and made ready for painting. Painting then takes place in one of the two painting booths, after which the paint is dried in one of the two paint dryers. The painted workpieces are finally returned to the loading and unloading area by means of the suspended trolleys, unloaded and then transported for further processing, assembly or material storage. 

Cleaning, rinsing, misting 

The new Noppel plant is equipped with two cleaning systems. The workpieces are up to 7,500 mm long and 800 mm wide, and the majority can be automatically cleaned and rinsed in a cleaning chamber. Stopa cleans larger workpieces manually in an appropriately dimensioned booth. The process, whether automatic or manual, consists of the actual cleaning, the rinsing step and rinsing/misting with de-ionised water. The entire process within the cleaning and pretreatment systems is adapted to the Divinol Cleaner 1389 BH from Zeller & Gmelin. 

The two cleaning systems and the long-span workpiece multi-booth are supplied with cleaning and rinsing media from the same tanks. This makes the supply system much less complicated, and the same quality is guaranteed for all the cleaning systems. Wastewater from the cleaning process is collected in a wastewater tank and treated with a KMU vacuum distillation system, which enables up to 95% of the wastewater to be recovered as rinsing water. The concentrate to be disposed of amounts to only 5 to 10 percent of the volume that Stopa had to dispose of in the previous plant. 

Water losses caused by carry-over, evaporation and new bath preparation are replaced with de-ionised water from a softening and reverse osmosis plant. 

Two identical painting booths are provided for wet painting, which is done manually. The air supplied to the paint booths is double-filtered and led vertically down through the ceiling area. Stopa also uses a multi-stage filter system to extract overspray. 

Saving 60% of heating energy 

The two ventilation units of the paint booths are equipped with supply and exhaust air filter units, plus a highly efficient heat recovery system that uses a rotary heat exchanger. The rotating heat wheels recover heat and humidity from the booth's exhaust air. Installed gas surface burners only reheat the air preheated in this way. Up to 60% of the heating energy that would otherwise be necessary can be saved by this procedure, and this also avoids the corresponding CO2 emissions. 

The workplaces in the painting booths also have individual stations that lift & lower the workpieces into the optimal painting position. 

The low-solvent 2K high-solid or water-dilutable paints from Mankiewicz and the new 2K mixing and application technology from Oltrogge help to reduce the consumption of paint and solvents in line with the company's solvents reduction plan, making the drawing up of documents for the necessary official notification of the painting plant a mere formality for the Noppel employees. Thanks to the paints used and the modern plant technology, the company’s solvents statistics are well below the technical requirements of the Solvents Ordinance. 

Turbo drying thanks to two paint dryers 

Two independent, gas-heated circulating air dryers process the workpieces after cleaning and painting. Each dryer has enough capacity to accommodate up to three suspended trolleys at a time. After drying, the parts cool down in a suspension trolley buffer area until they are removed. 

All stations within the new Noppel cleaning and painting plant are reached by an overhead conveyor system. The two motor-driven, transverse-travel bridges of the plant are each equipped with two rails. They can simultaneously pick up and transport two trolleys with loads weighing up to 1,500 kg or one trolley with heavy workpieces weighing 3,000 kg to any destination within the plant. The alternating feeding of the individual plant components achieves an almost uninterrupted supply of workpieces to the workplaces – and an effective decoupling of the working and transport times. 

Motorised drives are available as an option for the longitudinal transport of the trolleys in and out of the booths, stations and buffer areas, so even suspension trolleys loaded with heavy parts can be effortlessly transported 

through the entire plant. 

Ergonomics is key 

Electric drives and lifting/lowering stations are available in all the working areas. The trolley can be ergonomically lowered to the height of each employee, so even heavy parts can be handled without physical exertion, making it easier for the employees to move the motorised, loaded trolleys longitudinally, transversely, up and down. The ergonomic adjustment of the working height to each individual's height and the work step represents comprehensive health protection for the employees. It also upgrades the workplaces and makes work processes more effective and economical. 

In addition to the loading and unloading station, a separate multi-booth was provided for long-span parts with a length of up to 12 metres and a width of three metres, and this enables the employees to carry out all the necessary cleaning, painting, misting and drying steps. The hall crane takes over the transport and handling of really heavy and oversized workpieces. A ceiling slot can be opened in the multi-booth, allowing the workpieces to be brought in. For manual cleaning using high-pressure cleaning and rinsing lances, the media supply is provided from the common supply tanks of the cleaning systems. An on-site mixing and application unit handles wet painting with 2K high-solid and water-dilutable paints. 

The multi-booth is also equipped with a supply and exhaust air system equipped with air filters and a heat recovery system, which uses a rotary heat exchanger/heat wheel. The ventilation system can be switched to circulating air operation for drying workpieces. 

Protection of the environment thanks to eco2tec 

The entire plant has already commenced operation. The planned targets have been achieved, both in terms of the desired level of increased capacity and the targeted throughput. Even in two-shift operation, values are being achieved that were previously only possible in three shifts. 

The cleaning and surface qualities are exceeding expectations following preliminary tests and sample taking. Thanks to Noppel's environmentally friendly eco2tec system technology, the results of environmental protection measures are also excellent: no wastewater is seeping into the cleaning process, paint and solvents are being used efficiently, and thermal energy is being recovered. Thanks to all these measures, the company can considerably reduce operating costs, energy requirements and CO2 emissions. The Stopa employees particularly benefit from eco2tec. The air and the climate in the hall have been improved, because there are no longer any open hall areas where cleaning agents and paints are used. The employees also benefit from the ergonomic working conditions now available throughout the entire plant. 

Quelle: www.noppel.de

06.04.20 - Our car parking system in the centre of Lisbon.

Torel Palace, situated on a hill in the centre of Lisbon, is a hotel in the upper price range. With its pleasant view of the historic old quarter it is the perfect place to relax, and recently it acquired a special convenience: a fully automatic car parking system from STOPA with 20 parking spaces.

The Auto-LP system was selected for Torel Palace. This system is particularly suitable for narrow or limited spaces. Vehicles are parked lengthwise, reducing the width requirement. Twenty-two spaces, each 5.25 metres long, 2.10 metres wide and 2.0 metres high, were created on three levels. 

From the outside, the new system is basically invisible. Vehicles enter through a normal garage door that is perfectly integrated into the building’s historic façade. Inside, in the transfer room, the atmosphere changes. The room is furnished with high-quality materials and equipped with sophisticated technology. After a vehicle is deposited on a pallet in the centre of the room, the fully automatic parking process can be started at the touch of a button. The vehicle descends into the floor, and the storage and retrieval unit safely transfers it to the allocated space. 

Retrieval is just as simple. In terms of design and reliability, the stolzer parking system is much more than a car park. It blends perfectly into its surroundings, enhances the hotel’s services and harmonises with the lifestyle of the guests. The STOPA team is very proud of how this project in Lisbon was realised. 

stolzer, a brand of STOPA

19.03.20 - STOPA presents fully automatic parking systems at DigitalBAU

At the DigitalBAU trade fair and Heinze Forum, which ran from 11 to 13 February in Cologne, STOPA presented examples of the flexible parking systems which it sells under the stolzer brand. These systems offer a solution for almost any ground plan and architectural situation.

STOPA has been implementing stolzer parking systems throughout the world, from Lisbon to New York to Istanbul, for more than 20 years. Visitors to STOPA’s trade fair stand had a chance to experience interactive demonstrations of its projects, including the construction phases.

In the future STOPA will offer its sales partners a digital configuration tool that enables them to visualise automatic parking systems during talks with customers.

Project developers and architects in many countries are taking an increasing interest in stolzer automatic parking systems. With the growing use of private cars, ever-increasing population density in city centres and rising property prices, finding a place to park is becoming increasingly difficult. Compared with conventional car parks, automatic parking systems from stolzer make it possible to create up to 50% more parking space in the same base area.

STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH offers a broad range of services, from consultation to planning and commissioning of its parking systems – and beyond. Its customers have the advantage of smooth processes in all construction phases. Stolzer parking systems are a product of STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH, which does all the planning, manufacturing and installation.

Sources: STOPA

16.03.20 - STOPA sorgt gegen Corona-Virus vor

Special times call for special measures. STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH has taken a number of steps in order to protect employees, customers and suppliers from infection by the coronavirus. They have been in place since 16 March, enabling us to continue our business operations, maintain production and make promised deliveries to customers.

1. Together with the works council we have formed a crisis team, and we review the situation daily.

2. All office workstations have switched over to working from home. This helps to avoid contacts between employees. As a result there may be delays with job applications.

3. Access to our premises by outside visitors and suppliers is restricted to very special cases.

4. We have introduced additional shift models in production in order to limit contacts.

5. Employees are responsible for protecting their health and that of their colleagues; our employees are complying with the hygiene directives.

6. The company restaurant has been closed for the time being.

7. Travel outside of Germany is possible only when it is absolutely necessary for business reasons. Business trips to risk areas listed by the Robert Koch Institute are prohibited.

8. Conferences involving people inside and outside the company are held via virtual channels.

9. Customer service has been entirely converted to telesupport and remote diagnostics. If necessary, and provided there are no restrictions by local authorities, we will visit customers to ensure machine availability. (+49(0) 7841 704149 / Service@stopa.com)

10. Our subsidiaries in China and the USA are available without restriction.

11. All business divisions remain fully available.
Nevertheless, we give top priority to protecting everyone’s health.

12. Our production facilities are still working to capacity. However, we intend to apply for short-time work for assembly and service personnel in order to protect their jobs. At the same time, we hope that we will soon be able to provide products and services to almost all European countries, in this way keeping short-time work to a minimum.

May you and your families stay healthy. We’ll stick together!

 

The Management

18.10.19 - STOPA expands its tower storage product group

STOPA’s slogan at this year’s Blechexpo, “Next Level”, applies especially to its new tower storage system, STOPA Tower ECO Plus. The manufacturer will be presenting the system, an expansion of its product group, live at the trade fair.

The big advantage for customers who invest in the STOPA Tower ECO Plus is that it is a low-cost way to get started in sheet metal storage. Moreover, it provides a high degree of flexibility thanks to the option to add modules at any time if the need for more capacity arises. STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH, based in Achern-Gamshurst, has made provision for the many requirements that can arise from increased turnover quantities. The options include automating the system, expanding it by means of a second storage tower, attaching a chain/pallet conveyer with simple bolting or adding a transport cart.

The basic version, consisting of a storage tower and a lifting beam, is already prepared for the addition of prefabricated mechanical components. For example, holes are provided in the beam for attaching additional sensors. Another major advantage is the system’s high speed in comparison with other tower storage systems. In this respect the STOPA Tower ECO Plus performs almost as well as large-scale storage systems.

Another special feature is the system control panel, which STOPA has built into the switch cabinet. Users thus do not need any additional hardware. Moreover, STOPA offers warehouse management software that can communicate with the user’s ERP system. Customers who require a simple stock management system will find it already in the basic version.

The system used by STOPA to expand its tower storage product range is designed to meet the needs of all companies, from small to medium-sized. The investment costs are based on fair market prices, giving users an especially affordable way to get started. STOPA, a TRUMPF partner for many years, always delivers premium quality.

The system uses a lifting beam to store and remove sheets, which are on pallets. The material is picked up and deposited on a storage platform beneath the beam, which can be either mobile or stationary. The mobile version allows more shelf bays to be used because the lowest storage locations are also accessible. Instead of a storage platform, a rail-bound transport cart can be installed, which is then supplied by the lifting beam. A low-cost alternative to a transport cart would be a chain/pallet conveyer which can travel at a speed of twelve metres per minute. This allows pallets loaded with sheets, for example finished and semi-finished parts, to be moved over short distances from storage to processing machines and then returned. There are no other ways to connect machines directly to the storage system.

In addition to the STOPA Tower ECO Plus, the trade fair team will be showing other storage systems offered by the company. An example is the VARIOCART, an autonomous mobile transport system that serves as a connecting element in sheet metal production. In combination with the VARIOCART, bulk sheet metal storage systems can be developed to create production-linked logistics centres. The free-moving VARIOCART can carry out all internal transport without the need for the previously indispensable rail system, enabling all processing areas to be interlinked.

Another highlight is the STOPA app, which automatically reports malfunctions, thus helping to hold downtimes to a minimum. This is important when it comes to integrating sheet metal storage systems into Industry 4.0 environments where, in addition to sheet metal handling, information flow is an important challenge.

At Stand 1306 in Hall 1 at Blechexpo, STOPA will be devoting 50 square metres of its total 90 square metres to exhibits. Here it will present the STOPA Tower ECO Plus with a storage tower measuring 5.5 metres in height. Able to handle sheets in XF format, the system is equipped with a lifting beam, a chain/pallet conveyer and a transport cart.

Sources: STOPA

14.10.19 - New apprentices at STOPA

Young people set off on careers at STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH in Achern-Gamshurst And they’re off! Nine young people have started out on careers with the second-largest company in Gamshurst, STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH.

Alexander Stumpp, Dagukan Sai Yaman, Finn Hensel, Finn Korte, Leon Heymer, Niklas Schaufler and René Maier have begun apprenticeships in mechatronics. Leonard Jöst has set out to be a construction mechanic and Hannes Seiler will become a technical product designer. The young apprentices were each welcomed with a handshake from Edgar Börsig, one of the two managing directors of STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH, who wished them lots of fun and the best of success. High achievement is the best path towards a future with the company, Börsig said. Last year, for example, Matthias Oberle was the best mechatronics engineer in the state and received several honours and awards. According to Börsig, Oberle will stay on with us and take part in a dual study programme. HR development officer Stephan Hess, who is in charge of apprentice training, is happy we have so many apprentices. With the nine new ones STOPA now has more than ever before, he points out. In all, 25 young people are currently employed in the three apprenticeship years, and Hess hopes that almost all will stay with STOPA.

Photo: R. Brunner

The nine apprentices at STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH in Achern-Gamshurst along with Edgar Börsig, managing director (left), and Stephan Hess, head of training and HR development (right).

Sources: STOPA

11.10.19 - stolzer car parking systems at EXPO REAL in Munich

We all know how it is: a trade fair is like a catwalk. You show yourself, your services and your products in a favourable light. But a trade fair also shows whether there’s actually any demand for these products and services – and whether companies can offer the solutions that people can get enthusiastic about. The reactions of the visitors to the fully automatic stolzer car parking systems presented at the STOPA stand revealed the only answer to that: yes, we can.

STOPA attended EXPO REAL in Munich as a co-exhibitor at the stand of the Ortenau economic region. The stolzer fully automatic car parking systems were presented as part of an interactive program, already implemented projects were illustrated in detail, and planning tools were shown.

Many of the discussions with investors focused on the future of urban centres. Ongoing development of traffic infrastructures is of major importance here. In many city centres, building conventional car parks is now almost impossible. The space-saving stolzer car parking systems represent a real solution for the future of city centres. And not only that, the quality of the properties affects the entire investment climate.

EXPO REAL was the perfect opportunity to not only make stolzer car parking systems better known, but also raise the awareness of investors. Early involvement in the planning phase of a construction project has a very positive effect – on the price/performance ratio and on flexibility when both planning and constructing fully automatic car parking systems.

We’re looking forward to the next show.

 

stolzer a brand of STOPA

Sources: STOPA

29.08.19 - Driverless parking or fully automatic car park?

In June 2019, the world's first fully automated and driverless parking system received traffic authority approval. Inside this car park in Stuttgart, Germany, suitably equipped vehicles now drive to the intended parking space and back again, without a driver and at a speed of 6 kilometres an hour. The technology is impressive. However, it prompts the question of whether systems like this can solve the traffic problems of the future.

Driverless parking inside a car park sounds like science fiction – no more beads of sweat forming during parking, no more dark corners, no more dodgy areas to be crossed between the car and the lift. And the fight for the last parking space seems to have been won for good. That's great news. But what problem is actually solved by driverless parking? If you look at it more closely, it's a luxury problem. Because the real challenge to be faced is this: how do we tackle increasing congestion in city centres? How do we alleviate the shortage of parking spaces? Where do we put millions of parked vehicles? How can we really take the strain off cities while also putting an end to those nervous walks through gloomy car parks?

The daily search for a parking space is really just a symptom of a much bigger structural challenge. The number of people living in cities is exploding: in 1975 some 37 percent of the world's population lived in metropolises, but by 2009 the figure was already 50 percent – and still rising fast. And as demand rises, so do prices, of course: for homes, for offices and also for land to build on. Those who can't afford to live near the city centre have to commute. Every day means going into the city to work, and then out again. These daily migrations of huge numbers of people are handled by public transport and private vehicles. For people travelling as individuals, there are fewer and fewer parking spaces available. So where do the cars go? There are fully automatic car parks that offer 50 percent more spaces than conventional ones. The technology behind them has already been in use for many years all over the world: in New York, Madrid, Istanbul. These car park systems are built by, for example, STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH of Achern, Germany.

We need to think about how we want to live our lives in our cities in future. Reducing the masses of parked vehicles in city centres would free up space for new things: parking areas could be transformed into green spaces, playgrounds or leisure amenities. The quality of life in cities would soar. The idea of vehicles parking themselves inside a car park without drivers is fascinating, but – as already stated – it doesn't solve the parking problem in our cities. To cope with a global dearth of parking spaces, it's the car parks we should be automating, not the cars.

 

Sources: STOPA

Image: Pixabay.com

22.08.19 - Jersey City opts for fully-automated car parking systems from Achern in southern Germany.

Jersey City, 2020: A new residential and commercial building is currently being built on Oakland Avenue in Jersey City – and it will have a fully-automated car parking system with 181 parking spaces. The system with the stolzer brand name is designed and manufactured by STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH.

The company received the good news about the contract a few days ago. This is a resounding success for STOPA and its American cooperation partner Automotion (APS) – and still more proof of the convincing advantages of the sophisticated technology from the Achern-based company. The car parking system will considerably relieve the future parking situation on Oakland Avenue. Compared with conventional car parks, fully-automatic car parking systems can accommodate twice as many vehicles on the same area.

Residents in detached houses and blocks of flats in the area around Oakland Avenue in Jersey City, have been living next door to tradesmen, workshops and warehouses for decades. This is typical mixed area utilisation, well known in American cities. However, the face of the Oakland Avenue neighbourhood will change dramatically over the next few years – and the keyword is consolidation. Existing areas will be used more efficiently. A 15-storey commercial and residential building with a considerable floor area is being built on Oakland Avenue – and local residents are really worried that the parking problem will get worse. However, the 181 parking spaces of the fully-automated system by STOPA will certainly ease the situation, at least here.

The universal car parking system, auto-UP for short, will be used in the building. Auto-UP extends over three levels and vehicles will be transferred to three transfer rooms. Two fully-automated storage and retrieval units are planned. They will convey vehicles safely and reliably to and from their parking places via the relevant transfer rooms. Drivers can also exit the building easily in their cars, because their vehicles are already facing in the direction of travel. The fully-automatic car parking systems from STOPA are characterised by long working lives, high levels of operational reliability and low maintenance costs. They are an investment for the future, not only in terms of total lifetime costs, but also for urban planners, architects, investors – and the future of our cities. With its stolzer brand name, STOPA is looking forward to the start of the project in Jersey City.

stolzer is a brand of STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH and stands for our Parking Systems division.

 

Image source: STOPA; Pixabay