Interview with logistics expert
Bauer Logistik


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Dr. Becher, Bauer Logistik

Dr. Becher, Bauer Logistik

Safe crane transport along the entire line

Bauer, the logistics expert, chose HIMA safety technology for its new AutoCon automated crane lines. The crane lines use the new data matrix path measurement system PCV80A, which enables safety-related crane positioning up to SIL 3/PL e.

We talked with Dr. Becher from Bauer Logistik.


Dr. Becher, please tell our readers a little about Johannes Bauer Logistik-Systeme GmbH & Co KG.
Part of Heliograph Holding for over 50 years now, J. Bauer Logistik-Systeme GmbH & Co KG is a reliable partner in the printing industry. The company’s product range spans hand-operated trolleys to simple lifting equipment up to fully automated crane and high-rack storage solutions. All our products are generally aimed at customers who run gravure or flexographic printing businesses or who are service providers to this industry. The company has built a reputation as an expert in the transport and storage of printing plates and printing cylinders. J. Bauer’s customers are distributed acrossvarious sectors such as magazine publishing, the wood and furniture industry and the packaging industry.

What exactly do the automated crane lines of Johannes Bauer Logistik-Systeme GmbH & Co KG do?
The production lines sold under the AutoCon label manufacture packing print cylinders. This involves fully automated, galvanic (copper plating, chrome plating) and mechanical processes (grinding, polishing) for renewing an imaging surface, as well as Image transfer machines and laser and mechanical machines. J. Bauer makes the associated crane system, consisting of a trolley and its stations for feeding the production line, various types of intermediate storage facilities and the cranes for equipping the individual systems in the manufacturing process. The processes are controlled by a combined PLC and PC-based control System from K. Walter, also a Heliograph company. A safety Network comprising HIMA components is used to monitor the complex safety requirements.

In what form is safety technology required?
Life is extremely valuable. Compact individual systems are usually installed in very small spaces. Despite the very high degree of automation, the individual systems require a certain degree of monitoring by the operators. The handling quotas required within such an AutoCon line are always increasing. We need to meet these requirements and guarantee the cost Efficiency of their investment. A flexible, complex safety solution is required due to the fact that individuals stand inside the operating range of a fast-moving crane to perform the actions required at the production systems. As part of the results of the risk analysis, this solution must take into account the safety of any persons present, while at the same time ensuring maximum availability of the production capacities. To ensure the target quality, some of the processes must strictly adhere to the defined chronological sequence. However, such requirements can be met only by a networked, flexible programmable and configurable safety solution.

„HIMA was able to provide us (…) with a coherent and definitive concept“

There are many manufacturers of safety technology. Why do you find the HIMA solution so interesting?
We had a positive experience with a previous project in warehouse technology. When we started to revamp our safety concept for the crane lines, HIMA was able to provide us with a coherent and definitive concept and advise us on implementation. At this Point in time, we needed to be able to continue using the drive components with which we were familiar. HIMA’s expansion of its product range to include an absolute path measurement system that can be used with slip-prone drives without any other encoder technology was further justification for using their technology.

Which projects have you completed using a HIMA safety solution, and what was your experience?
Since around 2010, we have been employing and dynamically developing the devised concept in two fully automated cylinder high-rack warehouses and in about 10 AutoCon plate production lines. The solutions emerging as a result satisfy requirements and already meet the preconditions for expanding the use of thesystem technology. An Expansion is always a process that should occur, wherever possible, with only slightly reduced production capacity. A flexible safety solution
is a precondition for expansion. In the past, any essential or retrospective implementation of safety technology always meant the production line had to be shut down for a considerable period of time.

What potential efficiencies do you see in modern safety technology?
In order to achieve conformity with MRL 2006/42/EG, programmable safety technology is compared to solutions based on individual elements of transparent, seamlessly programmable and flexible, changing preconditions. Economy also calls for granularity in order to avoid unnecessary hardware. Under certain conditions, the flexible safety Technology achieves a level of safety required to be able to surpass the highperformance potential of modern equipment and plant technology.

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„The increasing use of software is both a blessing and a curse.“

How do you view the trend to favor the use of software-based safety functions over predominantly hardware-based solutions?
The increasing use of Software is both a blessing and a curse. A complete review and validation of software, as required under MRL 2006/42/EC, is barely feasible for small companies. This is especially the case for the Systems business, where solutions are always defined for each and every customer. Instead of more intense technology planning in the Project business, the tasks of modification (customer specifications) are becoming more Software based. As a result, completion and verifiability shift to the end of the commissioning phase at the end customer. Of course, this involves risks. These are countered by constantly changing Hardware equipment with an immensely restricted reaction to deviations from planning that occur as the project is implemented. Besides these considerations, the transparency of the plant Technology is extremely important for remote maintenance.

Do you have conceptual ideas for which there is still no specific solution/product on the market?
The variety of products on the market leaves little to be desired. The key issue for a small yet highly flexible company is continuity with the offered and used technology, as well as the desire for extensive integratability into existing older solutions, and also into current systems of other manufacturers, in order to be well positioned to meet the requirements set by the customers.

What do you look for in the safety intralogistic concepts of the future?
We are looking for extensive simplification. Our customers have a growing awareness and understanding of the cause-and-effect relationships with additional safety technology and requirements, such as constant access to automatic lines. There is an increasing awareness that certain practices can also be expressed as a particular convenience. As a result, it is possible to forego complex practices and system and safety technology that is differentiated by segment. In general terms, this is a move away from conventional practices and toward optimization of safety technology through simplification.

Dr. Becher, thank you for talking to us.

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Safety system for an automatic crane line

SuccessStory - Safety system for an automatic crane line

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The world’s first linear safety-related positioning system up to SIL 3, PL e

The HIMA positioning system enables safety-related detection of the crane position. Position-dependent access control can thus be achieved for different areas without shutting down the entire plant.

Project description


Johannes Bauer Logistik-Systeme GmbH & Co KG, Germany

End user
4packaging GmbH, Germany

Linear safety-related position measurement


  • 2 F30 HIMatrix
  • 1 F1 DI 16 HIMatrix
  • 1 F3 DIO 20/8 HIMatrix
  • 1 F3 DIO 8/8 HIMatrix
  • Data matrix positioning system:: PCV80 


  • Modbus TCP
  • safeethernet

Advantages of the HIMA solution

  • Immediate position detection when voltage returns after maintenance shutdowns or during sudden voltage drops (e.g., short circuits, lightning)
  • Safety-related position measurement with just one sensor
  • No slippage - absolute position measurement due to absence of movable parts
  • Safety up to SIL 3/PL e
  • Precision due to adjustable resolution: 0.1 mm, 1 mm
  • Increased reliability due to code redundancy
  • Enhanced plant productivity through fewer shutdowns