Flexibility, compact dimensions and ease of integration into the established production line were the reasons why an Irish medical device manufacturer chose the varioSTACK component palletising system from IEF Werner. Indeed, the performance of the initial installation in 2006 has since led to two further orders for the same system to complete the company’s fully automated production line.
The open architecture and modularity of varioSTACK are key to its flexible application. IEF Werner was therefore able to supply the optimum configuration for the task. For this Irish manufacturer the system has been designed to pick up pallets up to 600 × 400 × 150mm in size with a maximum weight of 10kg. Pallet changeover takes six seconds.
For the collection of the components, 600 × 400 × 80mm plastic pallets are used, providing five rows with 18 spaces in each. As every nest can be loaded five times, 450 devices can be collected per pallet. Typically one column is completely loaded or unloaded in layers before the next column is addressed. RFID chips that are integrated in the trays ensure correct position is monitored.
When all trays have been loaded onto the carriage, the safety sensor transmits a signal to the control unit and the system begins operation. Pallet grippers separate the loaded pallets automatically. As soon as the proximity sensor detects the top pallet on the stack, the speed is reduced from rapid traverse. The lifting fork on the pallet gripper removes the top pallet and transfers it to the pallet table.
A six-fold gripper then removes the raw parts from the pallet system’s loaded trays and places them on the workpiece carrier that serves the assembly line. Once the pallet is completely unloaded, column by column, the table containing the empty pallet moves it to the stacking position, in readiness for another gripper to transfer it to the unloading carriage.
Once the devices are completely assembled, they are placed back into pallets for further processing. Two more IEF Werner varioSTACK systems are involved at this point of the production process. To accept the finished assemblies, an operator places up to ten empty pallets on the loading carriage and once in position the system starts.
The pallet gripper rapidly traverses to a pre-set position, picks up the top pallet and places it on the pallet table. A two-fold gripper removes the finished parts from the workpiece carrier and delivers them, row by row, into the pallet system’s empty tray. Once loaded, the table transports the pallet to the right side of system where a lifting fork transfers it onto the unloading carriage. When all 10 trays are loaded with finished assemblies, the operator removes the loaded pallets.
The varioSTACK concept embodies IEF Werner’s expertise in linear motion and control. These systems are entirely comprised of elements that are designed and manufactured in-house and that are proven in applications throughout the world. A small footprint of less than 1m2 and the ability to load from the front or side are characteristic of the varioSTACK.
Although most applications require bespoke tray designs and gripper technology, IEF Werner varioSTACK palletisers are also available with a wide range of standard accessories to optimise the handling process. These include gripper rotation, multiple grippers, reversing units and alignment systems. As well as being a popular choice in medical device manufacture, varioSTACK is also widely used in the production of electronic and automotive components.
In the UK and Ireland, the entire IEF Werner range of products, including the varioSTACK component palletising system is available exclusively from R. A. Rodriguez. For further details, please go to www.rarodriguez.co.uk.