Tag Archives: CDLR

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A robust and intricate conveyor line

Our customer was using an automatic guided vehicle (AGV) that didn’t have any powered conveyor. They needed a machine that could move 500 pound, 30- by 60-inch pallets from the AGV to an operator workstation. Tuff Automation custom-designed the conveyor pictured above to solve the problem.

A Tuff solution

The machine we designed does a lot in a small amount of space. Our engineers and parts fabricators had to be efficient and precise in their work. Furthermore, the finished product needed to withstand heavy-duty part handling 24/7. Tuff Automation is uniquely equipped to handle these requirements.

Here’s what’s included in this complex line:

  • Six-strand chain transfer with lift and extend mechanism – This transfer handles three pallets at a time and uses an electric drive and pneumatic lift. The extender reaches into the AGV, lifts three pallets simultaneously, and conveys them into the conveyor line.
  • CDLR conveyor with accumulationPneumatic blade stops accumulate and meter pallets. The rollers are covered with Ultrex sleeves to handle accumulating pallets.
  • Tip-up/positioning mechanism – This part of the line pneumatically tilts 25 degrees at the operator unload station. A pneumatic clamping mechanism positions the pallet at a 25 degree tilt, and secures it for operator unload.
  • Two-strand chain transfer with lift and extend mechanism - This extender picks a single empty pallet off the conveyor line and extends to deliver it into the AGV.
The six-strand chain transfer extending into the AGV.
The six-strand chain transfer extending into the AGV.

Custom designs, custom solutions

Our lead times are highly competitive, and we use only materials of the highest quality. If you have questions about how Tuff Automation can customize a product for you, contact us.

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material handling maintenance cdlr chain rollers

Performing maintenance on your material handling equipment

The best thing you can do to keep your material handling equipment running smoothly is to develop a customized maintenance plan. The simplest negligence can lead to extreme machine deterioration over time. But if you periodically make sure every component on your conveyor, lift, over under, or stacker is in good shape, you won’t have to worry about fatal faults at inconvenient times. We have a couple tips on what you should include in your specific maintenance plan.

What follows is intended to be a guide and is by no means all inclusive.

Safety

Before you even worry about what needs to be done to maintain your equipment, you should make sure you are able to do so in a safe manner. This starts with training your personnel.

  • Make sure your designated maintenance workers know how to safely and effectively perform maintenance on each individual component.
  • Make sure they are aware of any maintenance-related hazards they may encounter while performing maintenance.
  • Never allow personnel to perform maintenance while machine is operating. Always follow machine disconnect procedures prior to performing maintenance.
  • Replace all guards and safety measures once maintenance is complete.

Common Maintenance 

Motors

  • Check motors periodically for excessive noise.
  • Monitor the temperature of running motors for excessive heat.
  • Verify all motors are securely fastened, tighten bolts as necessary.

Chains

  • Monitor chains for proper lubrication. Determine frequency of lubrication based on lubricant, usage, and manufacturer recommendations.
  • Check periodically for chain wear. Determine the cause of the wear (hardware malfunction or just normal wear and tear) and address as necessary.
  • Check regularly to make sure chain is operating at appropriate tension. Adjust as necessary.

Sprockets & Rollers

  • Make sure sprockets are properly aligned. Adjust as necessary.
  • Monitor sprockets and rollers for wear. Address as necessary.
  • Periodically apply lubrication to roller bearings. Determine frequency of lubrication based on lubricant, usage, and manufacturer recommendations.
  • Monitor rollers periodically for any bearing noise. Address as necessary.

Belts

  • Check periodically for appropriate belt tension. Adjust as necessary.
  • Monitor belt tracking and adjust as necessary.
  • Check entire belt for wear. Address as necessary.

Bearings

  • Monitor all bearings for excessive noise.
  • Lubricate appropriate bearings as necessary.
  • Check periodically for bearing interference and remove as necessary.

Overall Maintenance

  • Inspect entire machine for bolt tightness and integrity.
  • Remove any interfering debris from moving parts.
  • Keep machinery as clean as possible.

Be proactive in machinery maintenance

Bottom line, paying for extensive repairs on a problem that could have easily been avoided is foolish. Do your future self a favor. Keep up on the maintenance of your machinery.

Tuff Transfer Cart is an automated space saving solution

Production facility floor space is sacred. The more organized and compact you are, the more efficient your production practices are.

Our customer wanted to crowd more conveyor into their existing space to optimize their production facility. Continuing to drive lift trucks through such a tightly packed space would increase the risk for damaged product and equipment. So our customer needed something to facilitate the movement of their product within this tight space while limiting the use of lift trucks. Tuff Automation worked together with Savant Automation to create a transfer cart that would solve their problems.

We constructed the transfer cart with heavy structural steel and laser-cut and formed components. It traveled along a rail embedded in the facility floor, which meant that lift trucks could still be driven in the same space as needed. The cart used an overhead power system, taking up the least amount of space necessary to move products from destination to destination.

The transfer cart had to carry five different products from their respective fill systems to one of two stations—a stretch wrapper or a conveyor that sent them straight to the warehouse. Check out our video of the system in motion:

The final product ended up being an excellent solution to the customer’s needs, getting the job done without trying to squeeze lift trucks through tight spaces.

The transfer cart solution can be used and customized for a number of applications. Contact us to learn more about this system.

When old equipment just isn’t cutting it anymore

tuff automation cummins engine

Even the best equipment doesn’t last forever. Whether your process changes as your business grows, or you’ve simply used your equipment to the point of breaking down, eventually you’re going to need an upgrade. Tuff Automation can help with that.

Engine manufacturer Cummins found themselves in need of just such an upgrade. Their 20-year-old equipment was no longer meeting the task of moving their product.

“[Our equipment] was never upgraded to handle a heavier product,” said Cummins Mechanical Engineer Michael McLaughlin.

So they contacted Tuff, and we worked together over a long and changing schedule to design, build, and install brand new equipment

Our design

The sum of what we worked together to create included heavy-duty CDLR with 3.5″ diameter rollers, drip pans, custom frames, and guiding. These were much better equipped to move the heavier goods. We also mounted some new CDLR on a lift table the customer provided. In addition to the CDLR, Tuff also built a walkway and railing around the conveyor, mounted spring-loaded steps on the sides of the conveyor, and replaced the sensors on their equipment.

A long and challenging installation schedule

Over the course of four weekends in February, Cummins and Tuff worked together around an extremely demanding production schedule to put the new equipment in place. Tuff Mechanical Engineer Tony Truong traveled to the Cummins facility in New York to work with a team to facilitate the installation.

“Working with Tony Truong was the best part about using Tuff,” said McLaughlin. “Not only was he great on the engineering side, offering solutions to all of our requests, he was a one-man installation crew.”

Flexibility is the key

Even when brevity is out of the question, efficiency is of utmost importance. Though the circumstances made for a difficult schedule and an ultimately longer project process, Tuff and Cummins both exercised flexibility to ensure a satisfactory product.

What you didn’t know about the history of conveyors [Infographic]

Conveyors have been such a significant part of our culture for so long, it’s easy to ignore their roles in our daily lives. Chances are, you probably didn’t wonder how long the conveyor has been around when one appeared in the famous chocolate factory episode of I Love Lucy:

I Love Lucy Chocolate Factory Conveyor material handling automation Image via Breaking Soup

Or think about how accurate its inclusion was in the mine where Indiana Jones fought off a thuggish guard while headed straight towards a rock crusher:

Indiana Jones Temple of Doom conveyor belt Harrison Ford material handling automationImage via Central Conveyors

Or think anything of any of the handful of times conveyors have appeared in film and television. But the truth is that conveyors have been used for a number of different applications for over 200 years. Check out the infographic below for a detailed visual history of where conveyors started and where they are today, with information and data courtesy MHEDA.

The History of the Conveyor Tuff Automation material handling