HESSTON, KS - AGCO, a manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, has recently completed a two-year, $40 million modernization project equipping its Hesston, KS, manufacturing facility with the latest finishing and paint technologies, together with automated handling equipment. This is the second time CTI Systems was awarded a contract from AGCO to act as general contractor for design and implementation of the entire installation. The first project was completed in 2013 at the company’s Santa Rosa plant in Brazil.

The new 200,000-square-foot dip and powder-coat paint facility consolidates AGCO Hesston Operations’ paint stations from two operations into one streamlined, efficient building.

Parts for all products manufactured in Hesston will be painted and finished there before being assembled into final products. Nearly 75 percent of parts will go through the 15-step dipline for pre-treatment, nanocoating and cataphoretic coating. After curing of the e-coat, the parts are powdered in automatic powder booths and cured, providing a high-performance corrosion- and weather-resistant finish. In order to reduce energy and to adapt curing temperatures and curing times to the parts and loads, 20 batch ovens are available to cure the e-coat and powder. Ovens can be switched off when not in use.

The entire paint shop is equipped with automated floor-based and overhead material handling devices from CTI Systems for connection of the different steps of the processes, including tank line transfer bridges, tank line bridges, distribution transfer bridges, elevators, and loading and unloading stations.

The system for the tank line can handle part sizes up to 28 x 10 x 10 feet and a weight up to 6500 lbs. For the wet paint line, the system can handle part sizes up to 52 x 10 x 10 ft and up to a weight of 5000 lbs.

The entire material flow process is automated and controlled with software developed by CTI Systems. The software ensures process visualization and data acquisition and connects to the customer’s ERP/MES system.

In the load and unload center, parts are placed on load bars and transported to the paint line by 18 unmanned automated guided vehicles (AGVs) that have full omnidirectional capabilities and are programmed to follow a series of floor magnets. This high level of automation reduces employee exposure to the paint process, increases productivity and improves parts flow through the paint center and back to the assembly lines.

The e-coat and powder paint processes also offer efficiency and environmental benefits, as more than 95 percent of powder paint is transferred to the parts and the remainder is fully captured in the paint process.

Furthermore, process equipment benefits of an energy management system that reduces energy consumption considerably during processing.

The new cataphoretic coating and powder paint facility is the most advanced and extensive coatings application center in the North American agricultural equipment industry.

CTI Systems S.A. is an industry leader in the supply and installation of integrated automated manufacturing solutions in the area of heavy loads. The company’s portfolio contains automated material handling solutions, storage systems, surface treatment installations, assembly lines, process software (MES) and integration of machines and installations from other suppliers. The company designs, develops and supplies complete, tailor-made solutions to the aviation, commercial vehicle, agricultural equipment, railway, print and paper, steel and aluminum, and foundry industries.