Automating sheet feeding
The most frequent automated process in the case of packaging machines is the feeding of corrugated cardboard sheets. In the past, manual feeders were replaced with chain feeders, followed by faster ones, so-called "kicker-feeders", which were a mechanical solution of feeding rods moving forward and backward. The main negative of these two ways of feeding sheets is that a sheet is not inserted with its front but the back edge, which may cause inaccuracy in cutting and print. Mechanical feeder claws and feeding rod can easily damage the surface of sheets and have problems with the feeding of poorer quality, deformed or thin sheets of corrugated cardboard.
The above described feeding systems can be modernised by integrating a "lead-edge feeder"; i.e. a feeder with a vacuum desk. These feeders not only increase the speed and safety of feeding but more reliably feed poorer quality or deformed sheets. Additionally, they also eliminate inaccurate processing caused by different sheet sizes.
Inserting sheets to the feeder and stacking or "palletising" of semi-products or finished products in the end of a production process is a monotonous activity that requires human force. Both these activities can be performed by robots that load and unload the products. Robotic arm can stack material to the feeder or, in the end of production process, remove and optimally stack the semi-products or finished products and packages from the conveyor to pallets. This will be done before strapping and wrapping of the pallets.