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IWF Newsmakers

Intelligent Panel Return Conveyor Matches High Speed Edgebanders


February 24, 2022 | Bill Esler

Doucet Machineries has introduced RETYX, an intelligent edgebander panel return system that automates more functions than conventional return systems, thereby reducing labor.

The system is a combination of an automated stacker, de-stacker, and a return conveyor. Designed for high-volume cabinet door production, office furniture makers, and commercial furniture manufacturers for the medical and hospitality sectors, it is most productive in resolving what is often a work cell bottleneck, especially when moving larger sized panels through the edgebanding process.

The RETYX consists of an articulated arm with a vacuum grip that automates handling panels at the entrance and exit of the edgebander. It presents the pieces in the right orientation for the next pass, but also allows for automatic stacking and de-stacking into a designated area.

Doucet says RETYX meets the industry standard of 10 to 12 pieces per minute without stacking, maximizing its efficiency on large panels up to 96” long and 36” wide, as well as squares measuring 60” x 60”.

When picking up panels, the head of the manipulator aims for the center of the panel, based on its size, so that the system can handle such large panels efficiently. It is designed with the same components as other Doucet workpiece manipulators. First developed in 2007, some have been operating round-the-clock in plants with much heavier loads, carrying 1,000 pounds non-stop, seven days a week.

All components are manufactured in North America, so if a replacement part is needed, it can be sourced locally. Based on experience gained from other similar machines, the RETYX is designed and manufactured to last. This Intelligent Panel Return Conveyor System also has a manual bypass mode, allowing it to receive parts at any time, even if your manipulator is down for any reason. Normally, a maintenance mechanic would be able to easily repair it with the help of the spare parts kit from Doucet.

The RETYX offers pre-programmed “recipes” representing standard operations, suitable for most manufacturers. These “recipes” can be adjusted or adapted by the operator at the HMI (Human Interface) which Doucet says is easy to use without a programmer. It can also adapt to a barcode or RFID system when these are used to organize production lines, but it can operate autonomously without connection to an ERP or Manufacturing Execution System.

Compared to regular return conveyors, the RETYX is “smart,” and knows when the panel is at its last pass and performs the designated task, such as stacking it on a pallet rather than returning it to the operator at the banding machine entrance. who only must feed the machine with a new part. It also rotates the part that is returned to the operator in the right orientation for the next pass, if the dimensions of the part allow it, to reduce non-essential movements by the operator.

Doucet Machineries, an exhibitor at IWF 2022 (Booth B5537) is known for its engineering prowess in developing solutions for heavy industrial processes in wood manufacturing. Based in Daveluyville, QC, it was honored with a 2018 IWF Challengers Award for its ALYX system, which automates the lamination of boards on a large scale, reinventing wood gluing with complete automation for this stage of production.


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