Woodworking Product Innovations

As technology continues to facilitate the move towards fully autonomous and customised production, many companies around the world have unveiled new solutions that will redefine manufacturing practices. From self-driving logging trucks to machining centres to hand tools, FDM Asia looks at the latest product innovations.

Einride: Autonomous, Electric Logging Truck

Swedish tech start-up Einride revealed its latest product: The T-log, an autonomous, all-electric logging truck. More powerful than the T-pod—the all-electric, autonomous truck which the company revealed last year—the T-log incorporates some off-road capabilities and is designed to navigate forest roads.

Powered by the Nvidia Drive self-driving platform, the T-log is capable of SEA level 4 self-driving. It has no driver’s cab but can be remote-controlled by a human operator, from hundreds of miles away using Phantom Auto teleoperation safety technology designed to provide robust, minimal latency telecommunications even with 4G. 

No driver’s cab enables a smaller vehicle, increased loading capacity, greater flexibility, lower production costs, lower operating costs and optimised energy consumption, allowing the T-log to run solely on batteries, even in difficult environments.

Connected to an intelligent routing software, providing it with real-time traffic data, the T-log can adjust its route to avoid congestion miles ahead. A fleet of T-logs will be coordinated by an intelligent routing system, optimizing delivery time, battery life and energy consumption, making the transport as efficient as possible.

Robert Falck, the company’s CEO, added: “The driver’s cab is what makes trucks expensive to produce, and having a driver in the cabin is what makes them expensive to operate. Remove the cabin and replace the driver with an operator who can monitor and remote-control several vehicles at once and costs can be reduced significantly. In addition, operating a vehicle from a distance allows for a much better working environment, as has already been demonstrated in industries like mining.”

Emitting no greenhouse gases or toxic nitrogen oxides, the T-log is an environmentally and health friendly alternative to diesel powered trucks. Equipped with cameras, lidars and radars, it has 360-degree awareness of its surroundings—no blind spots, no dead angles. 

“Heavy road transport is responsible for a substantial part of global CO2 emissions,” Mr Falck said. “Add to that the tens of thousands of people who die every year from NOx pollution—effectively poisoned by diesel fumes—and you have every reason to look for a more sustainable alternative. The T-log eliminates those emissions entirely, by replacing diesel with electricity. Technology has progressed to make it happen. And because it can be done, it must be done.”


Ruwi: Non-Slip Worktable

The design of a workable that has been recently unveiled by Ruwi incorporates a table top with a pattern of holes spaced at 20-mm intervals and innovative workpiece supports. 

The tried-and-tested anti-slip coatings used by the company are usually more than enough to hold workpieces in place for machining-- ith no need for clamps. 

However, virtually every panel needs to be repositioned at some point in the process. To accomplish this with the greatest of ease—and minimum risk of damage to surfaces—the company has developed sophisticated workpiece supports. 

These are mounted on the worktable via their own quick clamps, without having to use any tools. 

Each non-slip workpiece support also has a plastic rail fitted to the side that can be moved up diagonally after loosening two bolts. 

Once a workpiece has been lifted off the rubber foam-like surface of the supports using these plastic rails, it will glide effortlessly into its new position. And when the workpiece is in the perfect place, the side rails are simply lowered again to set it back down on the non-slip surface.


Vollmer: Grinding Machine

With five CNC-controlled axes, the CHX 840 can machine saw blades with all common tooth geometries—this also applies to sawing with axial angle and group toothing. 

Thanks to a double grinding wheel the sharpening of tooth face and top is effected in a single set-up, thus reducing the set-up times of the machine. A transverse feed pawl with pneumatic lifting also permits machining of clamping segments and clamping rings.

Vollmer equipped the machine with different automation levels to reduce machining and set-up times. 

For example, the grinding machine has an optional automatic set-up process, which consists of running in the saw, the diameter detection as well as an acoustic sensor for touching. 

With the integrated sensor system of the feed pawl, the input of the tooth pitch is no longer necessary and the automatic setting of the hook and clearance angle avoids adjustment errors. 

The HS automation solution ensures automatic loading of the CHX in order to realise unmanned operation of up to seven hours. The programming and preparation of the saw blade stack is possible during machine operation. 

Thanks to a saw blade stack height of up to 180 millimetres the automatic machine loading can hold up to 25 circular saw blades. As saws are stacked with intermediate layers, teeth breaking and blade damage can be avoided. The machine is adapted to the individual needs of the customer with the different automation levels.

The operating concept of the machine is based on the VOLLMER multifunction handwheel. This facilitates the selection and movement of the axes, which in turn avoids operating errors. 

The handwheel is also used as a potentiometer in order to carry out speed adjustments in automatic mode. The reinforced grinding motor with variable cutting speed ensures a high grinding performance at the carbide-tipped saw teeth. 

The machining times as well as the surface quality can be improved with variable input of the grinding speeds during the sharpening process at the different areas.


DPS Software: CAD/CAM Tool

These days, for carpenters, cabinetmakers and store designers alike, creating furniture and fittings in a smart and efficient way calls for seamless process chains - from design and production right through to logistics. And when it comes to linking up all these processes, state-of-the-art CAD/CAM systems are indispensable. 

SWOOD Design from DPS Software GmbH is an expert CAD/CAM solution featuring technology that fully embodies Industry 4.0 visions for seamless networking—without ever overwhelming the user. 

The intuitive software is the first to offer full, certified integration into SOLIDWORKS—a CAD solution from Dassault Systèmes already favoured by five million users.

Specially tailored to the furniture industry, SWOOD Design delivers enhanced functions to make design and engineering significantly easier, quicker and more structured. 

Parts and component groups including carcasses, bases, drawers and backwalls can be produced in a standardised way and fitted with a range of connections. 

What's more, finished items can be saved in the integrated SWOODBox library and easily adapted for subsequent orders. All necessary fittings, connectors and other additional components can also be imported and equipped with standardised features. 

All of this makes creating complex interiors more flexible and dramatically speeds up the processes involved, which is a real must at a time when there is such a shortage of skilled workers.


Triton Tools: Jisaw

Triton Tools’ new pendulum action jigsaw boasts a powerful 750 W motor with three-stage pendulum action and maintains constant speed under load, ensuring optimised motor control, even when subjected to high loads. It offers the option of presetting a speed of 800-3000 strokes per minute. 

Thanks to dual-axis grips, the tool can be held with both vertical pressure and horizontal direction control. It also supports fast, tool-free saw blade changes and bevel adjustment from 0 to 45 degrees in both directions. 

The cutting capacity is 110 mm in wood, 10 mm in steel and 25 mm in aluminium. 

The saw comes with three high-performance blades, base cover, parallel guide, track adaptor and soft case.


Homag: Manufacturing Execution System

ControllerMES, the manufacturing execution system from HOMAG Consulting and Software, enables an integrated information flow within production and at the same time offers the option of digitalized production planning and organisation.

The data is created in an upstream design software such as woodCAD|CAM and transferred to ControllerMES. This guarantees that there are no data processing errors. 

Labels with barcodes enable the unique identification of each component—regardless of its current stage of production. Furthermore, the machine data required is supplied to the relevant machine through the reading of barcodes. Waste is reduced thanks to the flexible grouping of jobs in batch formation and the seamless communication with the Cut Rite cutting optimisation software.

The progress of the jobs can be viewed in ControllerMES throughout the entire production process. This means that you can see at a glance whether the individual furniture components are ready for assembly or can be delivered to the construction site. 

And if a part has to be reworked or reproduced quickly, the predetermined logic in software helps with this process.


Bessey: Clamping Tools

The unique positioning of the handle around the rail makes the GearKlamp GK a much more compact tool than classic screw, lever and one-handed clamps. 

Each time the handle is turned, a mechanism concealed in the sliding bar transfers the clamping force to the spindle. 

This innovative design offers users crucial advantages. For example, when working in confined spaces, there are no awkward protruding tool parts that could obstruct work or damage the workpiece. 

The tool also supports ergonomic working practices in virtually every clamping scenario imaginable. 

Despite its compact build, the tool can apply a clamping force of up to 2,000N, while a quick-release shift button allows users to adjust the sliding bar in no time. 

What's moreit features an easy-to-move trapezoidal thread spindle with a swivelling pressure plate that adapts perfectly to the surface of the workpiece being clamped. 

In fact, even rounded, pointed and angular workpieces can be held securely in the clamp thanks to the crossed V-grooves concealed under the protective cap on the upper section.


MAKA Systems: Machining Centre

MAKA Systems’ new PM Modular traveling gantry machining centre is an evolutionary leap compared to previous generations and is designed to expand the target market for the manufacturer’s high-quality technology. 

Offering an alternative to the renowned and often highly customised solutions, the machining centre pools the wide range of options offered by the company to create demand-focused configuration variants.

The PM Modular comes as a three-axis or five-axis variant or even as a combined version with two units. An additional vector axis can also be integrated into variants featuring three-axis technology, thus enabling greater variability. 

Each unit features its own tool changer to help keep make-ready times to a minimum. What’s more, to meet the specific requirements that come with a modular concept, the company is making consistent use of state-of-the-art bus systems such as IO-Link. 

The machining centre also scores highly in terms of safety, primarily because it allows users to monitor the production sequence by sight, largely thanks to a newly designed cabin with access hatches that open across the entire front area.

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  • Last modified on Thursday, 02 August 2018 02:33
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