An operator places a sheet pallet to be rolled at a specific point (feeding area) inside the system. Feeding area features specific stops for pallet centering and magnetic spacers for sheet separation. Sheets tend to stick together either due to moisture or oil present during cutting or storage. In this way, damages caused by multiple sheet rolling may be avoided and smooth operation of the system is guaranteed. Once all components are placed properly and the operator exits the system (the whole installation is surrounded by a security fence), he/she activates it indicating the presence of new sheets and selecting the relevant program. The robot moves to the feeding area and, by means of its specially configured gripper, calculates how high the first sheet is and grabs it. In case of ice detectors installed, the robot forwards the piece to be checked and, once presence of a single sheet is confirmed, drives it to the sliding table saw firmly grabbed and centered. Then, the forming procedure follows in which the robot and the associated press-brake bring the sheet to the desired form. The process is completed once all formed sheets are palletized inside the storage area and it starts all over again.
The additional press-brake software embedded in these robots supports the rolling process and has been developed for this particular purpose. It offers a wide range of ready-to-use routines enabling modifications on a product or production of a new one with no need for advanced programming knowledge. Total robot programming is greatly simplified since no multiple steps are required. Moreover, utilization of software provides higher quality to products, since the robot follows their path during forming and secures consistency of end products. Lastly, it includes preset designs for palletizing ready parts in certain points, so that they are transferred safely.
An important role is also played by the gripper, which is mounted on the robot's extremity (flange) and takes on holding the sheets throughout forming. Holding is implemented with under-pressure (vacuum) by means of cup or magnets when sheets have large holes on them. Grippers require special design in order to handle application-specific sheets and not cause problems to the press-brake or the robot during operation.