Mitsubishi and STORATEC automate process from warehouse to cutting table

Higher capacity utilisation of cutting machines in unmanned operation: in a joint development agreement Mitsubishi Electric and KEMPER STORATEC GmbH are bringing a new, fully automated system on the market that loads and unloads any existing cutting equipment regardless of who it is manufactured by. In the process, KEMPER STORATEC’s storage and automation technology are interconnected. The system is modular and extendable and can be retrofitted to existing cutting systems. After the successful launch the two companies plan to step up their cooperation.

“With our fully automated system, metalworking companies increase the productivity of their cutting machines”, as Willy Schroeder, Head of Sales at KEMPER STORATEC emphasizes. “No matter what cutting machine: for the first time ever on the market, we offer a solution that can use the equipment of any cutting process, regardless of the manufacturer.”

Loading and unloading unit is central element
The central element of the system is the fully automated laser cell that combines a loading and unloading unit from the StoreAutomation product range and a cutting machine. A suction unit connected to a lifting beam takes the raw material from the raw sheet stack and loads the cutting machine’s table. After processing, a rack in the machine comes into play and removes the cut blank automatically.

In addition, the upstream storage technology is connected to the loading and unloading unit. The software knows the status of all the processes and controls them in optimal manner: First, suitable raw sheet material is transported by means of a trolley (MTT) for loading the cutting system. The finished sheet is unloaded after being cut and either put back into store again via the MTT or stored on a stationary frame for further processing. Andreas Buchmeier, Laser Department Manager at Mitsubishi Electric Europe, explains: “All the processes work without constant supervision. Thanks to this automated system, unmanned operation even of complex processes is able to continue for hours.”

Transferable to different needs
This fully automated process can be adapted to the needs of individual companies depending on the manufacturing situation. Any cutting systems can be integrated into the process automation. “The system can be expanded flexibly and is also suitable for retrofitting to existing cutting systems”, says Schroeder. The first systems are already in use and further inquiries have been received by the cooperating partners. “As a stand-alone solution or as a module in a process chain, the system provides a clear increase in efficiency in sheet metal processing”, says Buchmeier.

After the successful launch, Mitsubishi Electric and KEMPER
STORATEC intend to deepen the partnership that has already existed for several years. KEMPER STORATEC, established as a manufacturer of sheet metal and long goods storage systems, thus provides products for fully automated production cells to all sheet metal workers who do not want to become dependent on one manufacturer.