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Automated sorting of sawn metal

To automate the sorting of material that has been cut to length, KASTO has introduced a new, robotic handling system that can also carry out secondary operations.

Called KASTOsort, it is aimed at manufacturers and stockholders that produce batches of sawn bar, tube or profile in large quantities. While it is possible for bandsaws to be served by such a system, high productivity circular saws such as the KASTOvariospeed C 15 are more likely to be integrated.

KASTO has long offered a high degree of automation on the input side of its saws. Stock is supplied via driven roller conveyors from tower stores or from buffer magazines, which it also manufactures at its factory in Germany. Material is continually fed to the cutting area to avoid process idle times.

However, this level of efficiency needs to be matched by similarly effective management of trim cuts, cut pieces and remnants on the output side, otherwise bottlenecks occur and productivity cannot be maintained. With this in mind, the manufacturer has introduced the modular system, KASTOsort. Its functions include picking up cut pieces from the saw table followed by presentation of the material to any user specified combination of stations for deburring, facing and centring, cleaning and marking.

Cut-piece sorting takes place onto Euro pallets, into standard containers such as stackable KLT boxes, or into special containers. Depending on the dimensions and weight of the cut pieces and on the number of output positions onto which they are to be deposited, the KASTO saw / KASTOsort combination works autonomously. Only when raw material needs to be replenished at the input side, or filled containers of cut pieces have to be removed, is operator intervention necessary.

The central elements of KASTOsort are an industrial robot with an automatic gripper changing system, a pallet rotating system, and the control including software. The robot selects its own mechanically actuated or vacuum gripper from a magazine, according to the program, to suit shaft-type material or flat cut pieces.

The robot allows the system to flexibly handle cut pieces in a diameter range from 25 mm to 150 mm and in lengths of up to two metres. The saw control calculates the time per cut, according to material type and cross section, so that the robot knows when the cut piece requires removal.

Intelligent sorting, processing and palletising via KASTOsort is just as cost effective with relatively small batches as with series production quantities, because the operator does not need to attend the machine when a new order is instigated. If the cycle time per cut allows, more than one sawing machine can be serviced by a single robot, leading to greater levels of efficiency and quicker payback on investment.

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