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Reduce Bottlenecks and Production Costs

MC Machinery's ASTES4 is a single integrated multifunctional system capable of controlling the entire production process from loading, cutting, sorting, palletizing and unloading through to the storage of the finished parts.

"With the ever-increasing speed of fiber lasers, cut parts stack up faster, creating a new challenge for workers at the de-nesting area," said a company spokesperson. "De-nesting, sorting and stacking the parts is a time-consuming process that also is subject to human error. A recent study showed that a stack of nests that would typically take three people 2.5 hours to separate would take the ASTES4 only 37 minutes. The automation results in every part being arranged perfectly and palletized for the next step in the process."

The ASTES4 material optimization feature is designed to ensure that parts are rotated correctly and placed in the right location. "Poorly sorted parts can cause bending issues and other problems in welding and assembly," said the spokesperson. "By reducing common set-up errors in downstream operations, such as scraped parts and/or time to recut or rework those parts, both time and money will be saved."

"This automation also reduces accident risks from the handling of heavy loads," continued the spokesperson. "According to OSHA, the direct cost of workplace-related musculoskeletal disorders ranges from $15 billion to $18 billion per year. Add in indirect costs and that number soars to $45 billion. Ohio State University's study on the matter found that back injury-related workers' comp claims run $40,000 to $80,000 per employee."

The ASTES4 has four sorting heads, each capable of lifting 1,100 lbs. (a combined weight of 4,400 lbs.). A maximum speed of 9,600 IPM means that each part is sorted quickly.

The system is highly configurable to fit many different shop floors. Its modular production cell adapts to a customer's production requirements and space available on site.

How it works:

  • Loading: Material is stored in the system for easy retrieval and loaded by suction cups to the laser pallet.
  • Picking: After the parts have been laser cut, the Cartesian grippers independently pick out the assigned parts with an assortment of grippers designed to handle an ever-changing array of part sizes and shapes.
  • Sorting: The parts are then sorted and palletized by kit, next operation, customer or job. The pallets can also be stored in the ASTES4 Warehouse for pick-up and shipment.
  • Scrap removal: Scraps are then removed by a clam shell fork and placed in scrap removal bins or conveyors.

Key features:

  • The system uses four Cartesian arms mounted to two gantries. Each arm has a gripper head that can use a variety of vacuums or magnets, depending on the application. Parts can be rotated up to 360° for exact placement on a pallet or in a bin. The combined capacity is 4,400 lbs. for the traditional system and more than 10,000 lbs. for the heavy-duty version.
  • The system can be equipped with a printing head for easy labeling and sorting.
  • Patented SortCAM software (included with the system) provides seamless communication between the laser and the sorting mechanism.
  • The software also provides tools to help users program laser cuts for easier removal or sorting-on parts with complex geometry that are hard to extract, for instance.
  • MC Machinery has plans to integrate the ASTES4 with its remote360-a remote laser monitoring application-so operators have 24/7 visibility from anywhere.

For more information contact:

MC Machinery Systems, Inc.

85 NW Point Blvd.

Elk Grove Village, IL 60007


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