IEF-Werner supplies multi-shaft palletisers for uninterrupted processes

With a four-shaft palletising system, for example, two shafts can be used for raw parts and two for finished parts.

Picture 2: IEF-Werner offers the euroSTACK series as a multi-shaft system.

A varioSTACK with three or four chutes is wider than a standard palletiser but does not take up as much space as two standard lines of this series.

Rolf Kölle, sales representative for palletising systems at IEF-Werner.

More shafts, more possibilities

Companies are increasingly relying on floor rollers for end-to-end logistics. This allows trays to be transported and prepared quickly and ergonomically in production. The palletisers are the interface to the assembly or inspection line. IEF-Werner has been offering efficient machines for this purpose for years. The multi-shaft palletisers are now new in programme. The automation specialist equips palletisers of the varioSTACK and euroSTACK series with up to six chutes, depending on requirements. Among other things, this allows product changeover within the line cycle - without interrupting the production. 

Furtwangen, 13.08.2020 – Rolf Kölle, sales representative for palletising systems at IEF-Werner, knows his customers: "Companies are increasingly relying on floor rollers. These are very inexpensive to purchase and have therefore become established in the industry. Floor rollers are now part of the internal logistics standard". Customers thus receive a continuous and efficient transport concept for all process steps. In addition, various components can be stored on them in production and quickly prepared for the next processing step. And this is becoming increasingly important: Because in order to meet the increasing demands of production, the various components must be delivered to the respective workstation on time, in the required quantity and in the required sequence. Kölle is certain that the floor rollers are particularly suitable for this. For example, small load carriers are stacked on top of them, which contain the raw and semi-finished products as well as finished products. "The palletisers are located at the interfaces to the assembly or inspection line," Kölle describes. The automation specialist from Furtwangen in the Black Forest develops palletisers in different variations and sees great potential in the combination of floor rollers and palletisers. With the floor rollers, operators can also load these machines ergonomically without lifting heavy loads. The palletisers can also be operated by driverless transport systems.


In addition: Level differences due to unevenness in hall floors do not play a role. Kölle knows that exactly this is a frequent problem for customers. The palletisers compensate for these unevenness - for example with floor rails that can be levelled. Different stack and tray heights can also be processed. "The palletisers can thus also process stacks of trays that have already been started," Kölle explains. "It does not always have to be a completely full pallet stack that is pushed into the chutes.

Without interrupting production

"What is important in automated production is a fast changeover when a stack has been processed," Kölle says. "Because a production should not be interrupted." But this is precisely challenging. Standard palletisers usually have two shafts. One for the raw parts and one for the finished parts. When the system processes the last tray of blanks, the operator must be able to change the stack quickly so as not to interrupt production too long. One way to circumvent this problem is to use two or more palletisers - but this requires not only higher investment costs, but also space in the hall. We now offer our varioSTACK series as a multi-shaft palletiser," Kölle says. "Depending on requirements, we can equip a line with three, four, five or even six chutes". A varioSTACK with three or four chutes is wider than a standard palletiser but does not take up as much space as two standard systems of this series. However, it offers the same autonomy. With multi-shaft palletisers, trays can be changed without interrupting automatic operation. Production simply continues at the next free chute. The operator has enough time to change trays until the next chute is full. 

The operator also has the option of pre-setting - he can thus react reliably to product changes without losing cycle time. Rolf Kölle thinks of a customer from the supplier industry who is using an IEF multi-shaft palletiser extremely successfully. "The operator can pre-equip a chute for a new product variant at any time during production without interruption. This makes multi-shaft palletisers particularly suitable for customers with a high product variety.


Safe trolley change

For safe trolley changing, the IEF developers have fitted an illuminated pushbutton above each pallet bay. This button lights up as soon as the shaft is ready for changing the trolley. The operator presses the button. The light flashes and the unlocking of the trolley is requested. A cover moves over the shaft, then the release is activated and the door is unlocked. The operator can safely open the shaft and change the carriage.

“There are a number of other advantages with the multi-shaft palletisers," IEF expert Kölle describes. "With an additional chute, the operator has the possibility, among other things, to deposit faulty parts separately. For this purpose, the IEF engineers integrated a second pallet table. This prevents good and bad parts from mixing.” However, with a second pallet table, the multi-shaft palletiser can also deposit finished parts in a separate tray. For this purpose, raw parts are taken from the container lying on the first table and after processing are placed in a separate tray on the second table. "In the event that not enough trays are filled with finished parts due to too many rejects, the empty containers can be buffered in the third shaft," explains Kölle.

The operator can also use a second pallet table to store a second product variant in a separate tray: Both variants are placed on the respective tables depending on the type. This allows switching between the two variants without loss of cycle time. "We can also pre-equip a second product during operation," Kölle describes. "The operator simply pushes a new product into an empty chute. He then assigns the new programme to the chute in the controller.”


Euro pallets can also be handled

"With the advantages mentioned, however, Euro pallets can also be handled safely", Kölle says. IEF-Werner offers the euroSTACK palletising system for this purpose. This enables operators to palletise particularly large quantities of workpieces. The system can be continuously loaded without interruption during operation. "In its standard version, the system is designed for trays in half, quarter or eight-euro dimensions with a maximum weight of 40 kilograms per tray. These are fed to the line - stacked on Euro pallets," Kölle explains.


Proven in use

Some users already successfully use the multi-shaft palletisers from IEF-Werner. "We delivered a euroSTACK with four chutes to a customer who needed two chutes for raw parts and two chutes for finished parts for short cycle times. The unfinished parts are punching packages that are to be unloaded from pallets into workpiece carriers.”

The pallets, which measure 400 x 600 millimetres, contain 36 punching packages. These must be moved from a horizontal to a vertical position and loaded into workpiece carriers. The finished parts are the punching stacks with winding. They arrive upright on the workpiece carriers and are palletised again in horizontal position. The pallets for the finished parts can hold 24 pieces each. Two 4-axis positioning systems with linear drives from the proven IEF portfolio are used for parts handling. Two independent pallet tables allow pallet changes without affecting the parts handling. A gantry system with four axes, also from the IEF portfolio, handles the pallet change from and to the Euro pallet. "With our solution, we were able to implement the complicated task in a compact, safe and economical way," Kölle says.

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