Feeding machines can increase the production capacity of an already efficient automatic machine. The efficiency advantages of automated production can be completely offset by manual feeding and stacking. Human workers tire, require breaks or cause accidents, which can interrupt or delay a continuous work process. Automatic feeding and stacking devices close these holes and enable a closed, automated production line.
A wide spectrum of devices serve the feeding of a production station. At the forefront are industrial robots which insert and remove the product continuously and with consistent, high precision. Along with their complex mechanics comes a high price, so it may be sensible to research the specific demands of the production process in the second-hand market. Often, a less complex system will suffice. Panel materials can be guided to machining stations with less complex feeding devices, which are currently faster than robotic arms.
The production process does not end with the output of the finished product. All production is followed by stacking the products in containers, palettes or delivery boxes. For this, human labour is also no longer necessary. This dirty and tiring work can nowadays be taken over by automated systems. The continuous and automatic production process can thereby carry through to the last link in the chain. A wide variety of stacking systems are available. The nature of the product and its packaging determine which systems are appropriate for a specific production line. Common stacking devices consist of height-adjustable conveyor belts with automatic height adjustment. They must be continuously supplied with fresh empty palettes, for which automatic solutions are also available.
In a fully automated production line outfitted with automatic feeding and stacking systems, supporting labour can only serve to ready the empty palettes. Everything else requires a technician. The total breakdown of the production process in events of failure is precluded by the efficiency of the automatic, continuous system. Nonetheless, sufficient technical support is necessary to handle back-ups, jams, and other such incidents. These should ideally be qualified industrial mechanics familiar with sensor technology and machine operation. With this technical support, the flow of production is guaranteed. Qualified workers can also handle necessary cleaning and maintenance.
Several firms have focused on the production of feeding and stacking systems. Established brands include BARGSTEDT, ZIWO, WOERNER-TECHNOLOGY, BAUMANN and BUSCH.