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Robots in the heavy clay industry

KELLER ICS develops and implements customised robotic solutions for various industrial applications. The key market is for machinery and plants for the heavy clay industry. In addition, robotic solutions by KELLER ICS enjoy a very good reputation in many other industries.  Since the mid-1990s, KELLER has already been using robots in the heavy clay industry.


4-axis palletising robots with a loading capacity of up to 450 kg are mainly used in brick factories and 6-axis articulated robots in roof tile factories. Since 2014, 4-axis Delta robots are used for sorting and packing of smaller products. These robots are equipped with a 3-axis wrist allowing six degrees of flexibility in total.


Today, most of the size changes in brick factories can be achieved fully automatically by using servomotor-driven grippers.  Besides, gripper stations allow for a very quick and easy change of the gripper when the customer wants to run another product size or another product.    


Contrary to many other areas of application, the robots used in the heavy clay industry are not only subject to the test of continuous operation around the clock, they are in addition exposed to extreme dust and dirt.


Robot setting plants on the wet side

Due to the high preparation water content and their hole pattern, freshly extruded and cut common bricks are always risking to be deformed during the further handling process.  The handling of the green products on the wet side is therefore regarded as particularly challenging and difficult.

Characteristics of the KELLER robot setting plants on the wet side

Very sensitive layout of robot and gripper
Smooth gripping and setting during the movements


Robot loading and unloading plants for roof tile presses

Due to their preparation water content and their form and size, roof tiles are also running the risk to be deformed when the roof tile press is loaded and unloaded.  Therefore, robot and grippers to load and unload roof tile presses are also designed to handle the products especially careful.

Special features

Very sensitive layout of robot and gripper
Smooth gripping and setting


Robot setting and unloading plants

Robot setting and unloading plants are today's standard in the heavy clay industry.

They unload the dryer cars, load and unload the kiln cars and, at the transition points of the separate areas, they transfer the bricks from one transport line to the other.

Characteristics of KELLER robot setting and unloading plants:  

Flexible design for fast product size changes
Smooth gripping and precise positioning
Smooth integration into already existing plants


Robot systems to fill common bricks with mineral wool

With the introduction of the Energy Saving Ordinance in 2009, filled common bricks have become the new standard in Germany.  KELLER played a major part in the development of the filling technology and is one of the world's leading manufacturers of filling systems for various insulation materials.

Special features of the robot systems to fill common bricks with mineral wool

Precise cutting and feeding of mineral wool inserts to be taken up by the filling robot
Precise and non-compressible introduction of mineral wool inserts into the bricks in the filling station


Packaging and shipping robots

The packing and shipping robots mostly stack the finished facing bricks, common bricks and pavers directly on pallets that are then covered with a film hood or strapped and are then ready for shipment to the customer. Finished roof tiles, roof tile accessories, floor tiles and brick slips are first combined in packs by 6-axis articulated robots. They are then optionally covered with film hoods, strapped or packed in boxes. Moreover, since 2014, 4-axis Delta robots have been used to sort and package smaller products like brick slips.

Characteristics of the KELLER packing and shipping robots

Combined gripper and suction devices to grip pallets, intermediate paper layers and bricks.
Suction of the intermediate paper layer and gripping of bricks in one working step
Servo motor grippers for uninterrupted product size changes for facing bricks and common bricks


Automatically guided transport systems

In 1999, KELLER was the first manufacturer of machinery and plants using the driverless transport system for in-plant transport in a roof tile factory.

Driverless transport systems can be optimally adapted to the frequently changing requirements of in-plant transport. Other than fixed installations, driverless systems allow easy changes and extensions of functions and itineraries.

The automatic guided transport system can be integrated into the plant control system; communication with central computer is either by wireless data transmission or Wi-Fi.

In order to allow free access to the work area of the driverless transport system, the system can be equipped with non-contact collision protection.



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