KUKA robot automates the tending of wood processing machines

At Sägewerk Echtle KG, a KUKA robot of the KR QUANTEC series automates the tending of wood processing machines, acting as a multifunction assistant.

Automated machine tending with KUKA robot relieves burden on operators

As part of a modernization program, Sägewerk Echtle installed a new machining center. This also involved automating the process of supplying workpieces to the woodworking machines. Since then, the edge-glued panels – which can measure up to 3.20 meters in length – have been loaded by the KUKA robot of type KR 180 R3200 PA from the KR QUANTEC series. This palletizing robot was installed in collaboration with system integrator fischertech GmbH. In order to increase the working range of the robot, the KUKA KL 4000 linear unit was additionally installed.
Automated machine tending: KUKA KR QUANTEC robot loads CNC machine with edge-glued panels.

Wood processing machines: KUKA robot performs machine tending tasks

The palletizing robot performs various tasks in the machining center. For this purpose, it is fitted with a large-area vacuum gripper. The robot uses this to remove glued wooden panels from a three-ply panel press. With the aid of the KUKA linear unit, the KR QUANTEC then transfers them to a wide-belt sanding machine. If the sanding machine is already working at full capacity, the KUKA robot sets the panels down on a buffer stack and loads the woodworking machine later on. The edge-glued panels are transported to the robot cell via a stack roller conveyor. The robot picks them up with its gripper and loads them into a CNC machine. The CNC machine has the job of cutting the panels to exactly the right size. After this formatting process, the KR QUANTEC unloads the wooden panels. It then guides them to the wide-belt sanding machine to complete the machining process.
In the woodworking process, the KUKA robot uses its gripper to remove glued wooden panels from a panel press.

Tending of the wood processing machine by a KUKA robot makes for a successful solution

Since the woodworking machines are part of a new system, it was possible to plan a structured tending process with the KUKA robot from the outset and to implement it without difficulties. The KR QUANTEC has been in operation at Sägewerk Echtle since December 2017 and has fully met the expectations for the automation solution. Planning is already in progress for the next robotic cell.
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