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Vacuum handling for more efficiency

Supplier: Millsom Materials Handling By: K. Smith
26 July, 2010

Dual woodworking centre and vacuum handling form an unbeatable productivity team.

In accordance with the principle that nothing is so good that it cannot be improved, a manufacturer of furniture recently purchased a dual woodworking centre. The objective of this was to minimise the non-productive idle times of the machine by using the two ends of the large machine table alternately.

Since this large table makes it possible to remove the finished parts and load new raw materials at the one end while the parts are being machined at the other end, the machine is practically never idle and the machine running times are fully utilised production times.

So far so good, but not enough for the factory manager since at least two people had to be available whenever the finished parts were removed and the new sheets of wood placed on the machine, something which cost time and money. Equipping the new dual machining centre with a vacuum handling system would improve the efficiency even further.

Handling of large sheets of wood and MDF
No sooner said than done, a convincing solution for the handling of laminated sheets of wood and sheets of MDF was quickly created by Schmalz (represented by Millsom Materials Handling in Australia & NZ.) They are now moved and positioned with the aid of a vacuum tube lifter of the type JumboErgo 140.

The vacuum tube lifter is equipped with suction pads which can be positioned anywhere on a longitudinal beam, making it easy to balance the load and to adapt the gripper to the varying dimensions of the sheets. The necessary vacuum is generated by a powerful, directly driven vacuum blower with a dust filter to keep out wood chips and sawdust.

A special feature, which deserves mention, is the extra-long operator handle, this handle permits ergonomic handling while allowing the operator to keep well away from the suspended loads.

Handling systems as complete solutions
However, the handling system for the dual woodworking centre consists of more than just the vacuum tube lifter: it also has a jib crane system to permit traversing of the vacuum tube lifter over the entire working area. The jib crane carries the vacuum tube lifter, which can be moved to any desired position within the working area.

The lightweight crane system is designed for loads of up to 140 kg and its trolleys can be moved easily, even with the full load suspended. Schmalz supplied the complete handling system, which means that the customer has only one contact partner.

The factory manager is very satisfied with this Schmalz handling system and today, only one person (previously 2) is needed for handling of the raw sheets and finished parts, and still has time to control and monitor the operation of the machine. The vacuum handling system also moves the sheets and finished parts more safely and with less damage, and thus makes the production of wooden and MDF parts even more economic.

Millsom Materials Handling manufacture their own equipment including cranes and track systems and are the Australian & New Zealand distributors for Schmalz Vacuum Handling & Clamping Systems.

Millsom Materials Handling provide customers with a "One Stop Shop" for their complete materials handling needs.