This Installation Literally Is One For the Books
YORK, PA—The Maple-Vail Book Manufacturing Group wanted to automate the process of removing stacks of unfinished books from one machine and placing them onto a pallet. The existing process required two workers on each of three shifts at a cost of $120,000 annually. While robotic palletizing is becoming commonplace, designing an end-effector to complete the process was more complicated.
"In book manufacturing, getting the end-effector right is the key," says Scott Simons, vice president of operations for Maple Press. "This equipment must perform multiple, precise functions, so it usually must be custom-designed."
Pages for each book are printed and bound, then stacked with other books by an automated stacking machine, which created 6˝ to 13˝ stacks. The stacks were then palletized by hand. To automate the palletizing process, Maple Press selected equipment from Westfalia Technologies .
Westfalia's robotic palletizer handles 16 stacks per minute, picking up two or three stacks at a time. The company's end-effector allows a range of stack sizes to be picked up and presented to the robot in a row. The end-effector then extends an adjustable fork assembly that can support a 36˝ long row of books, which is held in place by a pneumatically controlled pressure plate.
Books are then moved into position and placed onto the pallet by retracting the forks. The height of each layer is individually measured by a laser, which provides precise height adjustments for the robot as it drops each layer into place.
Trade Shop Upgrades Its PUR Capabilities
WOBURN, MA—At Seaboard Bindery, the company has upgraded its PUR (polyurethane reactive) binding capabilities with the installation of a Nordson binding system. The machine features an even distribution of glue over a defined area, greatly reducing makeready, production and wasted glue during perfect binding production.