What’s the best way to improve panel loading operations? Can I use automation systems?

Handling Material System: Sistema di carico automatico pannelli compositi
Alu Loader is the Loader-Positioner for composite panels

Manual or automatic loading? 

Industrial production means focussing on productivity and finding ways to boost it. In the same way, we need to direct attention to the various stages of our specific production process.

Panel handling is certainly an issue that affects multiple industries. Although each industry has its own process specificities and dedicated technologies, efficiency issues continue to be a headache. Specifically, for operators processing large composite panels with particularly sensitive surfaces, utmost care is needed in panel handling. 

The temptation to switch from manual to automatic when it comes to handling is strong, since the operation for handling large and very often heavy panels requires at least two people. Added to this, heavy loads present a risk for operators, combined with causing damage to larger panels, for example, as a result of accidental dropping. 

Automatic loading and unloading solutions are a key choice factor.  What’s on the market today? 
Normally, if the machining centre chosen is a horizontal unit, automation should also provide for panel flipping. The latter generally features a “good side” facing upwards, while the side to be machined is the underside. This limitation can be overcome by using very expensive automation solutions or by providing for special supplies of panel stacks, already flipped by the supplier.  

Vertical solution: the answer to solving space and panel flipping in one fell swoop

The CNC with Alu Ranger Vertical Worktable enabled patenting and the creation of the Alu Loader positioning machine, enabling the panel to be picked up directly from the stack by gripping using suction cups, while simultaneously flipping the panel.. The panel is then moved to an upright position, exposing the side to be processed. This ensures that when placed on the vertical worktable of the Machining Centre – by means of the Alu Feeder system – the panel is already ready to be machined. This solution is extremely compact and reduces space requirements by 60 percent, compared to a horizontal solution.  

The answer to optimising space with an extremely easy-to-use system that boosts daily productivity using less personnel. Let’s see how … 
Alu Loader is a patented unit and, combined with Alu Feeder, enables automatic loading and positioning on the Alu Ranger Vertical Worktable Machining Centre. Only one operator is needed to handle both CNC and loading and positioning operations. In addition, the work cycle is continuous, as pallet exchange operations can be done in masked time when the Machining Centre is operating, without interrupting the production cycle. Thanks to the Alu Loader + Alu Feeder automatic loading and positioning system, therefore, both efficiency and productivity are enhanced, offering the use of less operators, time saving and,and resulting reduced costs. 

What happens when panels do not need to be flipped or are flipped alternately? 
There are cases where stacks of ACM panels are supplied with the side to be machining facing downwards. In addition, when machining HPL or Fibre cement panels, stacks sometimes present an additional degree of difficulty because the panels are arranged in an alternating manner (with the good side facing once up and once down). For all these cases, Muratori Machines has developed an equally unique and patented solution: the Double Loader.

So, what’swhat is the bottom line? What are the actual benefits of automatic systems for loading and positioning panels on Machining Centres with a Vertical Worktable? 
The term “cost reduction” covers a number ofseveral areas.. Façade builders, sheet metal workers and all those involved in composite panel processing cut costs by: 

  • Lowering investment, to find the most efficient solution. 
  • Using fewer operators, for complete process management 
  • Eliminating the risks of damaging panels or the machine 
  • Eliminating potential injuries to operators  
  • Reducing the space required compared to horizontal solutions

Let us show you how can Alu Loader can improve your production cycle.
See technical sheets here.

Contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss it together with you

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