Production and trading companies are increasingly relying on rationalisation equipment such as vacuum handling devices. This is also true for companies which cut sheets of material to size. Millsom Materials Handling refer to a company that not only invested in a new sheet saw and a new box-storage system for the sheets, but also in a new vacuum handling system from the vacuum specialist Schmalz, represented by Millsom Materials Handling in Australia and New Zealand.
The company performed diverse tasks such as selling semi-finished plastic parts, plastic pipes and various elastomers. The company have to cut customer-specific pieces from large and heavy sheets of material such as POM (polyoxymethylene) or PC (polycarbonate). The sheets are received in the standard formats of 1000x500mm, 2000x1000mm or 3000x2000mm, are up to 90mm thick and weigh up to 120kg. In the past, two people and a fork lift were necessary to transfer the larger sheets from the storage area to the sawing machine, while smaller sheets were moved manually by two workers.
The introduction of the new box-storage system with higher side-walls also made manual removal of the sheets difficult. With the vacuum lifting system, the company was able to solve all of its tasks in the handling of the sheets. Furthermore, one person can now remove the sheets from the storage area, move them to the machine and position them on the machine table with the aid of the vacuum lifting device. This lifting device, designed for suspension from a crane, is the basic version of one of the many different models in the VacuMaster series.
The vacuum lifting device VM-BASIC-500-H-6-2400 is designed for loads weighing up to 500kg and is equipped with three cross-beams, each 800mm long, and six suction pads. Due to the extended suction-pad mountings, which are also flexible and spring-mounted, it is easy to reach down into the storage boxes and remove complete or partial sheets. For this, the operator assumes the gripping and removal position with the aid of the operator handle. Once the load has been gripped, the operator can lift it with the chain hoist, move it to its new position and lower it again with the chain hoist. A special feature of the gripper is that suction pads, which are not in contact with the load, can be deactivated by moving a manual slide valve. This makes it easier to quickly and safely grip smaller or partial sheets.
The vacuum lifting device VM-BASIC-500-H-6-2400 is suspended from a robust slewing column crane. A 4m jib and a slewing angle of 270° permit the crane to cover a large working area. The overall height of the crane is 3200mm and the lower edge of the jib is 2600mm above floor level, providing sufficient lifting height for the intended application.