When Handling Is Truly Tailor-made

With a dedicated department at its headquarters in Rheinau, Zimmer Group’s System Technology supports customers around the world facing particularly challenging handling applications and requiring integrated and customized systems. Starting from the wide range of components in the catalogue and relying on the well-known specialization in both lightweight and heavy handling applications.

by Franco Parrino

Over the years, we have learned about the Zimmer Group, whose Italian subsidiary is located in Pavia, as a leading global handling components manufacturer – grippers, first of all – as well as clamping, damping and braking systems.
Thanks to a dedicated department at the company’s headquarters in Rheinau, Germany, Zimmer is also able to combine and integrate the different products in the catalogue into customized handling systems, depending on specific requests from customers all over the world, including Italy.
“The aim – explains Michele Gasparini, in charge of Zimmer Group Italia – is to provide customers with customized handling systems, using standard products in the Zimmer catalogue or even, if necessary, making special products. All this is made possible by the experience accumulated so far by Zimmer, which can count on over 9,000 systems built so far and working all over the world.
And, we might say, in manifold sectors. Clearly starting from the automotive industry, which has so far absorbed most of the applications made, but also targeting industries like consumer goods (including food & beverage, pharma, packaging), electronics, machine tools, plastics, foundries and logistics.

Who might be interested in the System Technology?
“Anyone facing complex handling applications can contact Zimmer’s System Technology department”, adds Mr Gasparini. “We are talking specifically about end users but also machine builders and integrators who, for various reasons, need or need to contact a handling specialist. I am thinking, for example, of quite structured integrators working in different industrial sectors who need to save time or not clog up the technical office at peak times; I’m also thinking of companies experienced in some industrial sectors but not in others or, again, of those companies that are not very structured and then, for reasons of staff or skills, are unable to manage the set-up of a handling system”.
In short, a wide spectrum of potential customers. This is one more opportunity provided by Zimmer, especially in case of quite complex handling requirements. “Clearly, the System Technology is thought for applications that go beyond simply picking an object – points out Michele Gasparini – but rather imply, for example, rotations or other complex and integrated movements. The key advantage of Zimmer is that of relying on a wide range of components suitable for carrying out the movements required by complex applications. As well as the internal know-how for integrating these components into a system.
A fully equipped department in order to ensure certain timing
All this makes it possible to meet one of the most important requirements for potential customers of the System Technology, namely the reasonable certainty of time. “Our parent company has a department that deals only with these systems, consisting of designers, salespeople, project managers, assembly operators, maintenance experts and so on”, adds Mr Gasparini. “Thus, we can reasonably be sure to provide the customer with the system in a maximum time frame of around 8 to10 weeks, considering the request, feasibility study, design, implementation, testing and delivery. Of course, however, the time inevitably depends on the peculiarities of the application”.
The starting point, as already mentioned, remains the customer’s requirements, in terms of movements and operations required, cycle time, surrounding environment. In short, more generally, the feasibility of the application is checked before designing and assembling the system and, once delivered, guaranteeing maintenance and after-sales service.
The systems can be supplied completely assembled, including the plates for anchoring it to the robot, for example. Customers may also request the supply of individual components and take care by themselves of the final assembly or the creation of accessory elements, such as the above-mentioned plates.
The handling systems that are part of the System Technology philosophy are particularly suitable for robotic cells, even if applications have also been made within the production machines. Finally, with regard to the components to be handled, there are practically no limits: they range from heavy components, up to 700 kg, to very small parts requiring rather complex handling. n