Laser automation with storage system


Ter Horst Metaaltechniek B.V. from the Netherlands specialises in a wide range of metal processing. Thanks to its advanced machinery, which includes laser cutting machines, press brakes in 4 and 6 metre lengths and welding robots, the company is able to deliver high-quality products tailored to individual customer needs. In order to cope with its dynamic growth, the company built a new production hall a few years ago, which it equipped with state-of-the-art technological solutions in the field of Industry 4.0, including a MultiTower automated storage system with a stacker crane for storing sheet metal with maximum dimensions of 6 m x 2 m. Now, two years after implementing the storage system, the company has invested in a laser cutter for cutting 3 m x 1.5 m sheets. This raised the need for automation to streamline the process of material flow to the laser cutter, its loading and unloading.


In response to Ter Horst Metaaltechniek B.V.’s new material storage and processing needs, in 2021 we implemented the MultiTower automated storage system with stacker crane, which is equipped with two double-level duo stations to improve the flow of sheet metal from the storage columns to the outside of the storage system, from where the sheets are transported to the processing areas. The MultiTower automated storage system consists of eight storage columns that hold 131 shelves with dimensions of 6100 and 6150 x 2100 mm and a load capacity of 4,000 kg to 5,000 kg. This year, we launched an additional laser cutting machine automation module connected to the storage system.

Expansion to include laser cutting machine automation

After two years of using an automated storage system, the company decided to introduce a laser cutting machine for cutting 3 m x 1.5 m sheets, a Durma HD F (L) 3015 IV. This gave rise to the need to design the material flow from the automated storage system to the laser cutting machine and to integrate the equipment to optimise the entire production process. To this end, we implemented the MultiLoader laser cutting machine automation system, which is responsible for:

  • receipt of raw 3 m x 1.5 m sheets with a thickness of 25 mm from the duo station
  • efficient flow of material to the laser cutting machine
  • loading and unloading of the laser cutting machine
  • return of the cut details to the automated storage system

A significant role in terms of the operation of the entire system has the software, which allows intuitive operation of the automated storage system and integration between the system components so that they can form a coherent whole. In the case of the SmartFlow System implemented at Ter Horst Metaaltechniek, the automation system is integrated with the Durma HD F(L) 3015 IV laser software, which is responsible for managing the material processing queue. Baumalog Smart WMS software is responsible for controlling the operation of the warehouse itself.

Automating the flow of sheet metal to the laser cutting machine has made it possible to increase the flexibility of the production process. The new automation module makes it possible to extend the functionality of the automated storage system by providing a material flow and, in addition, the production process has gained full autonomy from the actions of the operator, who can only control the production.

When designing our systems, we ensure that they are expandable to match the growth of the company and the expansion of the machine park with new processing equipment, which adds value, as exemplified by the installation at Ter Horst Metaaltechniek.

Technical data

Parameter Value
System height 9 000 [mm]
Shelf lenght/width 6 100 i 6 150/2 100 [mm]
Shelf capacity 4 000 i 5 000 [kg]
Number of shelves 131
Total capacity 643 000 [kg]



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