Author Topic: Beam saw and sheet storage  (Read 2110 times)

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Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 492
Beam saw and sheet storage
« on: April 14, 2021, 05:44 PM »
I thought I would post a few pics of these because most people have never seen a system like this.
It's a huge upgrade to the way we work. It make sheet goods handling vary easy. A huge overhead gantry/crane moves/stores the material and can deliver it to the beam saw or one of the CNC machines. It keeps inventory under control and takes full sheet handling out of the equation at the same time. It's amazing to watch it work and knowing how many sheets of any given product and where they are is such a time saver.
The first pic shows the computer screen with all of the locations where it can stack and part of the control cage. The second one is the vacuum module of the crane and the last one is the out-feed area of the saw.
We struggled for 10 years in a 20k sq foot building, even doing and addition out back for storage.
This system takes up quite a bit of space, but the speed, accuracy and efficiency are more than worth it. Now that we are in 60k sq feet, things are much more open and movement is easy.
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Offline squall_line

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2021, 06:11 PM »
I googled "What is a beam saw" and watched one of the first videos on Youtube of a Beam Saw in action, air tables and all.

 [blink] [eek] [scared]

The gantry and storage system for the sheet goods is just another [eek] on top of that!

Efficiency and repeatability, for sure!

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 492
Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2021, 07:28 PM »
Yeah, it's really cool.
We used one at a temporary facility about 10 years ago, but it was no where near as sophisticated as this. The functionality of the saw itself was similar, but it didn't have the scoring blade capability or the crane/storage. It was front loaded and far more "manual".

It's really wild to watch it pick up something "new" from the loading platform, which is outside the cage.
It has laser measuring devices that tell it how far to move the suction cup arms. Then it picks up the first sheet a few inches and stops. It is weighing the sheet, just so it "knows" what the product is, for comparison later. That way, if something goes wrong it will stop. If it picks up a sheet, and another is stuck to the bottom of it, the weight will be off and it will stop. It knows it needs human intervention.
This happens with 1/4" MDF occasionally.
It has dedicated spaces for common things like shop ply, white melamine, particle board, etc. The rest it just spreads the stacks around, trying to keep them fairly even. That way it doesn't take so long to dig something from the bottom.
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Offline TSO_Products

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2021, 07:28 PM »
 . . . but it won't fit in a Systainer - or even a two-car garage  [wink]

Hans

Offline rst

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2021, 08:09 PM »
Large glass fabricators have a similar system, only the sheets are stored vertically.  Vertical bins slide out into an isle and suction arms positioned by three axis arms utilizing suction cups grab the glass and take it to the appropriate station, usually cutting and then tempering, drilling, polishing or CNC, often water jet.  Glass drilling on CNC machines drill from both sides to prevent chipping.  Tables for manual prepping have hundreds of holes which pressurized air (think opposite of vac suction) which floats even the largest and heaviest pieces enabling one person the place hundreds of pounds buy themselves.  On the subject of air floatation, years ago I installed automatic sliders in a medical plastic blow molding plant.  Two guys were moving an extruder, probably 40 foot long, unbelievable weight by them selves.  Feet at both ends sat on air sleds powered buy an air compressor identical to one used for concrete jacking.  These guys moved that machine at least 500 yards from one end of the plant to the loading docks at the other end of the plant by themselves only stopping to reposition the compressor.  One of the coolest thing I ever witnessed.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2021, 08:20 PM by rst »

Offline squall_line

  • Posts: 397
Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2021, 08:15 PM »
It has dedicated spaces for common things like shop ply, white melamine, particle board, etc. The rest it just spreads the stacks around, trying to keep them fairly even. That way it doesn't take so long to dig something from the bottom.

I'm sorry, did you say that it stacks dissimilar sheets on top of each other and keeps track of where they are?

The inventory implications are mind boggling.

I'm guessing the beam saw has a cut optimizer on top of all of it.  Is the beam saw integrated into the crane system to the point where there's minimal human intervention other than when it freaks out?

I'm not an industrial engineer or designer, but that is the sort of thing that makes me want to quit my job and go back to school or work for the company that makes that thing.

Offline Oldwood

  • Posts: 472
  • Alberta, Canada
Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2021, 12:25 PM »
Now that is a production shop! We used a CNC router to cut sheet stock and mill for hardware and assembly when we had a cabinet business.

This shop make that look like the dark ages ;)

Fun place to work I bet.

 
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Offline Bert Vanderveen

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2021, 01:16 PM »
Who’s the manufacturer? Looks German/Swiss/Austrian to me, but I wanna know for sure!
Cheers, Bert Vanderveen

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Offline madjalapeno

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2021, 01:35 PM »
Did anyone see Peter Millard do a tour of his local yard? They had a Beam Saw there.

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Offline Peter Kelly

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2021, 03:27 PM »
Who’s the manufacturer? Looks German/Swiss/Austrian to me, but I wanna know for sure!
Made in Germany by Homag Group https://www.homag.com/en/product-detail/panel-dividing-saw-sawteq-b-200/

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 492
Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2021, 06:03 PM »
It has dedicated spaces for common things like shop ply, white melamine, particle board, etc. The rest it just spreads the stacks around, trying to keep them fairly even. That way it doesn't take so long to dig something from the bottom.

I'm sorry, did you say that it stacks dissimilar sheets on top of each other and keeps track of where they are?

The inventory implications are mind boggling.

I'm guessing the beam saw has a cut optimizer on top of all of it.  Is the beam saw integrated into the crane system to the point where there's minimal human intervention other than when it freaks out?

I'm not an industrial engineer or designer, but that is the sort of thing that makes me want to quit my job and go back to school or work for the company that makes that thing.

Yes, it does stack dissimilar materials together, as long as they are the same size. It will not mix sizes.
For example, we keep sheets for cabinet parts the are laid up with the finished color on one side and usually white on the other. There could be quite a few different colors at any one time. Plus there are different species of veneered panels, different types of ply, etc. These are loaded into the system by their description. The system knows where they are, but it may appear random to humans. As I said before, there are dedicated spaces, but the rest (of the proper size) are open. It tries to keep those "free" spaces equal in height. This keeps it from having to dig through a huge stack, to get to a particular color.
It does have a dedicated spot for the CNC to do what is called "pre-stacking" When you load the program for bunch of cabinets, it knows how many sheets of plain white melamine it needs. These would be for internal parts and cabinet sides that are not on finished ends. Then there are the sheets for those finished ends. Those have the color on the outside, which is face down on the CNC. If there are "open" cabinets, like shelving units, they are run with the colored side up. Then the shelves themselves are color on both sides. It keeps all of the straight, in the inventory, but the sheets themselves may not be together. When it begins "pre-stacking" for a job that is ready to run, it gathers the sheets to that one place, in the order they are to be run. This makes them run faster, because It is not picking them one at a time. Plus it leaves the crane available to someone using the beam saw at the same time. When You are looking for a particular sheet by it's description, it can tell you exactly which stack it is in and how many sheets are on top of it.
As far as the saw, it works in several ways. It can handle pre-written cut lists from the engineering office directly. You can write a cut list right there at the terminal or you can run any of the "saved" lists that are in its memory. It is not however "automatic" It brings you the sheet (or multiple sheets) from behind, or you can manually load one from the front over the air table. But after that, you have to manually manipulate the parts. After each cut, you have to move/remove the off-cut parts or turn them 90 degrees for the next cut. It give a graphic on the screen, showing the operator what it wants to do. It is "stupid" though, it cannot compensate for operator error. If you put the wrong piece back in or don't rotate it right, it will cut it anyway.
Peter Kelly is right, it's a Homag, same with the CNC machines. The other CNC is about 50 feet outside the cage/crane area. It has to be manually loaded. It's a similar machine, but it does not have the auto loading and unloading system the the main unit has.
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Offline Crazyraceguy

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2021, 06:04 PM »
. . . but it won't fit in a Systainer - or even a two-car garage  [wink]

Hans

That thing takes more space than my entire house.
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Offline Crazyraceguy

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2021, 06:22 PM »
Now that is a production shop! We used a CNC router to cut sheet stock and mill for hardware and assembly when we had a cabinet business.

This shop make that look like the dark ages ;)

Fun place to work I bet.

It is a great place to work. I have been there for 17 years, but this whole system has only been here for about a year and a half. There were other CNCs before, but not this elaborate storage system and automation.
I have very little to do with the production area though. I run the beam saw for my wall panels and reception desk parts, so I'm one of the people who can manually input a cutting pattern. Sometimes I just write the cut diagram and email it to the main guy in that area. He will cut it out and bring it to me. It just depends on the timeline. If I can be working on assembling the framing of a reception desk and he has the time to cut my parts, it speeds up the process. If he is too busy, I go cut them myself.
There are guys who do that full time, same as the edgebander and dowel insertion machines, as well as the guys who assemble the cabinets.
I do the custom stuff. Which is pretty much anything that is not assembly/production or countertops. I usually only do that if they are directly involved with what I am building. There are specific departments for that stuff as well as solid surface tops.
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Offline Oldwood

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2021, 07:30 PM »
I think the custom work is a lot more interesting than the production work. But production is where the money is.

You get it both ways, you get to do custom work and have access to the production machinery. Nice!
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Offline Crazyraceguy

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2021, 02:54 PM »
I think the custom work is a lot more interesting than the production work. But production is where the money is.

You get it both ways, you get to do custom work and have access to the production machinery. Nice!

That's kind of how it works for the company. The custom stuff is the flashy part that people love to see and where a lot of the focus is with the details, but that's just a part of the whole job. In most cases, there are a lot of other areas to be fitted. Many get break-rooms, storage rooms, restrooms, lockers, shelving, etc. and countertops for them all too. That's where the money is made. Reception desks and feature walls/display cases are usually the last things to get done, especially are far as install. Sometimes that stuff is just part of the package, just to get the more profitable part.

I actually worked in the production area, in the assembly department, years ago. Back then the departments were not as defined. The assembly guys pressed the cabinet carcasses together, then did all of the up-fitting too. We build and installed the drawers, hinged and hung the doors, installed the pulls, fillers and build the toe-kicks. We build 99% of our cabinets with separate toe-kick platforms.
Now most of those things are separated. The assembly guys only build the carcasses and toe-kicks now. A different department does all of the drawers and up-fitting.
I moved up into custom work mostly because of the older way. When odd specifications showed up, I just went with it. My space was next to the custom area, so I would help them, when needed. It just progressed from there.
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Offline afish

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2021, 08:21 PM »
We had one at the place I used to work.  We didnt have the cages... Although with lumber prices today they might have put them in.

Its not as fancy as yours but it fits in my 2 car garage.  Vacuums to the sheet and then flips it horz. and takes it over to my CNC.  I can muscle the sheets up there but I didnt want to risk scratching an expensive veneer.  I just load up on the a frame and it takes it from there.  There are 2 pneumatic cylinders one to flip the sheet and one to lift it up/down. 

Offline Crazyraceguy

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2021, 08:09 AM »
afish, that is really cool. We had a vacuum operated sheet lifter in the old shop, but it was horizontal only. That flipping part is slick especially in a home garage situation.
It was installed for exactly the reason you stated, scratching. The way we used to do it was with a stack of sheets next to the cnc. The operator would drag them over by hand. It woks fine with melamine, ply, etc. But with laminated sheets or veneered goods, it could scratch if anything got in there. The lifter fixed that, but it was very limited in comparison to what we have now.
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Offline afish

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2021, 01:41 PM »
No scratching yet. (crossing fingers) but I haven't moved any hi gloss sheets yet either.  So far everything I have moved is good.  Was your old one more like a suction cup?  Where the lip of the suction cup would want to slide across the surface when compressed? causing the scratching.  Hopefully my wording makes sense... If so Im hoping I have avoided that issue.  Mine has a epdm cord cut into a grove.  When vacuum is applied the EPDM cord just compresses unlike a suction cup type that expands or spreads out after it makes contact when compressed. I could see how that would be more prone to scratching.   

Offline afish

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Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2021, 08:34 AM »
Sorry I misread your post. Thought you had an older vacuum lift before but it sounds like they were just sliding them around by hand probably off a scissor lift table or forklift.  I have seen some of the older suction cup type lifters leave some light scuffing.  I think what happens is any dust or dirt that gets on the lip of the cup and when it compress and flattens out slightly the dirt/dust which is being compressed at this point scuffs the finish.  Its minor but can still be an issue I think the newer ones fix those issues.   

You guys must be cranking out some serious boxes to cover all that equipment. 

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 492
Re: Beam saw and sheet storage
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2021, 10:20 AM »
The old lifter was indeed just suction cups. There were 8 of them about 6"-8" on a metal frame. It was cable operated with essentially a neutral balance on the carriage. The suction actually provided the lift. You would pull the trigger and the vacuum would pull the cups down, then lift the board up. You would draw the sheet over the CNC bed and release it. This would lower the sheet, then release the frame.
The only real scratching problems we had were with laminated panels that had been done off-site with cold press glue. The little squeeze-out bits would scratch the sheet below if you were to drag it. We were not equipped for doing that cold press method, so it was done locally for us, but that only made sense for larger quantities. On smaller jobs the countertop laminating department would lay-up panels with ordinary spray contact. This was far less of a scratching issue, but as volume increased over the years, the cold pressed stuff became more common. That's when the lift came into it.

Yes, the automated lift system is all new, in the new facility. We had nowhere near the space to have something like that before.  It takes something like 50'x100' of floor space. That is more than the entire cnc department had in the old building and that included much of the sheet goods storage too.
CSX
DF500 + assortment set
PS420 + Base kit
OF1010
OF1400
MFK700 (2)
TS55, FS1080, FS1400 holey, FS1900, FS3000
CT26E + Workshop cleaning set
RO90
RO125
ETS EC 125
RAS115
ETS 125 (2)
TS75