Tag Archives: custom

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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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stacker

Improve storage density with a Tuff stacker

Tuff stackers can be customized to stack or destack any kind of pallet, tote or container, keeping material organized and your employees safe from injury.

How they work

Stackers are large machines that move pallets or bulk materials into vertical stacks for shipping or improved storage density. Destackers perform the opposite action, individually moving materials from the bottom of a stack onto a conveyor.

Customized stacker designs to meet your needs

Tuff Automation builds automated stackers and destackers to match any specification. Tuff stackers are ideal for handling and organizing standard or custom pallet designs, as well as many stackable raw materials, and can be integrated with or without controls.

Tuff stackers can run with pneumatic, electric, or hydraulic power. Stacking and destacking speeds can be customized from 2-3 units per hour to several parts per minute.

Check out one of our stackers in action:

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This lift lasts

Pneumatic Lifts

High-cycle lift processes don’t have to mean short equipment lifespans. Pneumatic lifts are a long-lasting, cost-effective alternative to scissor lifts. They’re a perfect high-cycle solution, made in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

More powerful than a scissor lift

Ordinary scissor lifts are rated for a lifetime of approximately 200,000 cycles. The vertically mounted cylinders on our pneumatic lifts make possible a lifetime of several million cycles. If your application exceeds a cycle time of 45 cycles per hour or 500 cycles per day, you’ll see the return on investment on a pneumatic lift in no time.

Robust, custom design from Tuff

Tuff’s pneumatic lift is simple. It’s a direct lift design that significantly reduces side loading forces. Pneumatic lifts are easy to position precisely—which makes them an excellent fit for automatic loading or unloading applications.

Tuff lifts are typically designed to handle between 500 and 3,000 pounds, but we can customize them to handle even heavier loads. We also offer a model that is powered by an electric motor to facilitate longer strokes, multiple precise positions and specific applications.

Best of all, they require minimal work to maintain. Tuff lifts are made with off-the-shelf components, making part replacement easy and inexpensive.

extendable conveyor material handling equipment efficiency

Our conveyors boost productivity

Our goal as a material handling equipment manufacturer is to help our clients make their processes more efficient. How do you measure that? Well, the proof is in the numbers.

An engineering company that designs and manufactures steel automotive parts, came to us for conveyor help. We built them some customized powered extendable conveyor and roller conveyors, which were installed in October.

Since installation, our client’s Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), which calculates how a machine is expected to run versus how it actually does run, for their machinery has improved by 25 percent, reporting over 95 percent OEE in November.

Our customers were thrilled with the improvements, saying their operators don’t spend nearly as much time fighting with the machinery.

Running two jobs used to take 3 hours, Process Engineer Seth Monroe said, now it only takes 1.5 hours. That’s a 50 percent improvement.

Maintenance has also become easier. Replacing the belts on the extendable conveyors used to take two to three hours. Now it takes 30 minutes.

“It takes longer to get the belts out of the crib than it does to replace them,” Monroe said.

That’s the kind of news we like to hear.

The best solution for incorporating conveyor transfers

On a single conveyor there can be multiple kinds of product, and they may all need different end destinations. This dynamic conveyor movement can be achieved by incorporating transfers into the conveyor system. They operate to reroute product 90 degrees.

Tuff Automation’s custom-designed belt transfers are easy to integrate, mounting into any live roller conveyor—line shaft, belt, or chain driven.  They can cut lead times on conveyor transfers by as much as half.

Efficient, space-saving product redirection

Transfers are ideal for reducing conveyor floor space because they allow for this change of route without requiring large arcing curves. A mounted transfer simply pops up when actuated and pushes product over onto an adjoining conveyor.

easy to integrate belt transfer material handling
Tuff Automation belt transfer

Custom design with the highest quality materials

Tuff transfers are custom built to fit your application. They can be inserted into standard line shaft conveyor (1.9) with rollers on three-inch centers without modification, meaning you don’t have to buy special conveyor sections to accommodate them.

Our belt transfers are ideal for product that needs to be handled more gently—the belts don’t mar product. Our transfers are typically pneumatically actuated, utilize DC or AC conveyor motors, and can incorporate as many strands as necessary. Tuff transfers offer torsion bar design for smooth, level operation, and they are easy to maintain with simple belt changeout.

two part epoxy paint match any color belt transfer mult-strand
Tuff Automation belt transfer

Key Features

  • Shorter lead times
  • Installs into standard conveyor without modification
  • DC puck drive option available
  • Torsion bar stability control
  • Non-marring belts
  • Easy maintenance
  • Match any color paint

Custom designs, custom solutions

If you have further questions about how Tuff Automation can customize a transfer for you, contact us by phone at (616) 735-3939 or by email at sales@tuffautomation.com

At the last minute, Cisco-Eagle finds quick, reliable service to finish off their multi-million dollar project

Material handling equipment provider Cisco-Eagle was in the final stages of installing a massive addition to their original equipment for Cargill Meat Solutions, a leading meat processing facility located in Friona, TX, when they realized they needed a blade stop at the last minute. Their deadline was approaching; Cisco-Eagle knew they needed quality equipment and needed it quickly.

Pressed for time, Cisco-Eagle needed to be efficient in as many ways as possible. Production, delivery, and integration with the existing Hytrol equipment all had to move quickly. Knowing Hytrol has a tendency for longer lead times, Cisco-Eagle’s Director of Project Management Darrell Griffin contacted Tuff Automation’s sales engineer, Mark Zauel.

“Mark said he could provide equipment in a week, and it would hook up to the existing Hytrol equipment, which would save us considerable time in the field trying to make it fit,” said Griffin.

blade stop Tuff Automation material handling conveyor component custom Cisco-Eagle Cargill Meat Solutions
Example of a Tuff Automation Blade Stop

This wasn’t the first time Griffin worked with Tuff Automation, so he was confident in his decision to use Tuff Automation. Cisco-Eagle began working with Tuff when they were quoting another integration partner on a different project. While they looked through the pictures the integration partner provided with the quote, they noticed Tuff Automation stickers on some of the equipment in the photographs. After scrutinizing the photographs and hunting down Tuff Automation, Cisco-Eagle was ultimately won over by Tuff’s lower prices and completely custom solutions.

“Tuff doesn’t sell canned solutions,” said Griffin. “Everything is engineered to some extent—everything [Tuff] provides is rated to handle the load of the application.”

That initial impression was followed by years of solutions completely customized to fit their applications, which continually proved Tuff’s reliably fast turnaround and durable product construction. These experiences informed Griffin’s decision to go with Tuff for the blade stop solution.

“We have a lot of faith in [Tuff],” said Griffin.

Tuff Automation delivered the blade stop to Cargill Meat Solutions within a week’s time. The equipment integrated easily with the existing Hytrol conveyors and was durable enough for 110-pound cases of beef it needed to handle.

Quick turnaround, affordable prices, and reliable equipment are of paramount importance for those in the material handling industry, especially at the last minute. For Cisco-Eagle, Tuff Automation was able to provide all of the above, leaving all parties satisfied.

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