When you look at a plant with the intention of exploring automation to improve overall efficiency and safety, what are you looking for? The first thing that comes to the minds of most is “I look for ways to do things faster.” Fair enough. If you can produce more in a given amount of time with the same number of people, you are indeed moving in the right direction as a general rule. However, if that is all that you are looking for, you are missing a whole world of opportunity. For example, reducing the amount of labour required to achieve a given task is even more beneficial as that labour can be re-allocated to another part of the plant. In this way, productivity of the entire plant can be increased not by making something faster, but by being smarter about where we use human labour in the process. Those every day, common, repetitive tasks are ideally suited to automation and are far too often overlooked or not given the attention they deserve.
Most people know Vekta as the company that makes linear saws (great ones in fact!). Some may know that we also purchased the rights to the Stakpro product line several years ago – for stacking wall frames and trusses. However, very few in our industry are likely aware of the development efforts we have invested in the plant processes downstream from the truss and frame assembly processes. Looking at a typical plant, wall frames and trusses are typically dragged into stacks by at least two people. For large trusses, it might take several people to stack them. This is not a value adding step in the process – that labour is being pulled from the jigs to achieve this result. So what has Vekta done in this space?
The Vekta Smart Roller Conveyor is a roller conveyor designed to handle your finished trusses. Rather than simply being a dumb, ‘always on’ roller conveyor and relying on someone to catch the trusses for stacking, the Smart Roller Conveyor actually tracks the size and position of the trusses along the line. The trusses can be automatically moved and stopped in their position for stacking. If the line is equiped with Stakpro booms, the trusses can even be automatically or semi-automatically stacked with or without operator intervention. Once stacked, the Vekta Truss Transfer system can be used to move complete stacks out the way for strapping while the next stack is started.
Auto stacking off a framing line is just as important – keep your team focused on making the frames in the first place. Consider a Vekta Stakpro Frame system to easily reduce an already labour intensive process.
The benefits of automating your roller line-
- Increase your plant efficiency. Trusses are automatically moved to the center of the required bay- there is no need to manually start or stop the rollers.
- The system is programmed to automatically know which bay the truss needs to go to- eliminate human error.
- One operator can handle stacking at multiple bays.
- The next truss can be parked and ready to go instantly- increase efficiency and production.
Graham Footer from Footers in South Australia has commented on the Vekta Smart Roller Conveyor, “It’s a charm and has more capacity than we can feed it. It’s our only line and all that we use now”.
To find out more email [email protected] To see the Roller Conveyor in action with the StakPros watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVWUAH4BP-k