Robots Promote Safety & Productivity in Wood Industry AppsRobots Promote Safety & Productivity in Wood Industry Apps
June 29, 2012
Use of robots in the wood industry is allowing manufacturers to remove employees from potentially dangerous environments, strengthening the safety-first environment in mills while at the same time trimming production costs. But new systems are also demonstrating an ability to handle more complex processes with robots, and coordinating multiple robots to act in concert and carry out an orchestrated process.
From a design point of view, although wood products are not known as an area for advanced automation, it shows robotics bringing automation to applications and processes that traditionally have only been done using manual labor and operators.
One prime example is a successful application designed by the system integrator PRE-TEC, a Division of the Willamette Valley Co., where four FANUC robots apply protective wrapping and end sealant to I-Joist Beams or Stacked Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL). In this system, robots replaced an operation that presented stapling hazards as well as those that come with handling large pieces of engineered wood products. Previously, the made-to-order wood products of varying sizes were loaded, hand-sealed, wrapped, stapled, and labeled manually in this steady production process.
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