Automatic Vacuum Sheet Feeder
This automated vacuum sheet feeder accepts a stack of wood, plastic or metal sheets and feeds them one at a time to a conveyor line or a processing machine. The infeed stack is automatically indexed up to the correct pass line height as each sheet is fed.
Depending on your industry, you may call this an indexing sheet feeder, a sheet loader, a panel loader, a lift table sheet feeder, an indexed lift table feeder, a blank feeder, a vacuum feeder, a vacuum loader, or an infeed stack loader.
As with all Union Vacuum Feeders, this unit is extremely versatile, very dependable and easy to operate. Primarily designed for use in the woodworking industry, this feeder also finds many applications in other industries such as plastics and metalworking.
As pictured, the vacuum feeder will feed sheets ranging in size from 48" to 96" long and 12" to 48" wide. The thickness may vary from .0156 to .375.
The cycle of operation is as follows: a stack is placed on the infeed conveyor; by activating the infeed conveyor at the control panel, the complete stack is moved forward against the built-in stops located on the lift table. The stack then automatically stops. The vacuum cups may then be lined up both for width and length of the sheets to be fed. The control panel provides for both manual and automatic modes of operation. When activated, the vacuum cups lower, picking up the trailing edge of the top sheet and flexing the sheet with the built-in breaker bar. The vacuum cups, which are attached to an overhead carriage, move the top sheet forward into a set of nip rolls. These nip rolls then power the sheet into corresponding equipment.
While the sheet is being fed through by the nip rolls, the vacuum head automatically repeats the cycle and holds the next sheet until a switch has been cleared by the first sheet on the back side of the nip rolls. In this manner, the speed of nip rolls actually controls the feed cycle. The feed cycle itself actually has a maximum of 25 cycles per minute.
The lift table automatically indexes up as each sheet is fed. This pass line height is maintained by a limit switch located above the stack.
As a stack is completed a switch built into the lift table is activated and the lift table automatically lowers, ready to accept a new stack. As an added safety feature to the breaker bar and air jets and to ensure single sheet separation, the feed is also equipped with a double sheet detector built into the nip rolls. If two sheets are accidentally fed to the nip rolls, the feeder automatically shuts down until the panels are cleared by the operator.
This feeder is just one of the many different types of vacuum feeders and stackers that the Union Tool Corporation has designed to solve material handling problems for modern industry.