If your operation requires processing extremely heavy material you are confronted with a very unique challenge. The fact of the matter is that the heavier your material is, the more dangerous it is. It’s as simple as that. Putting in a fool proof and efficient material pusher setup for moving parts through your various manufacturing processes, be it sawing, drilling or punching, is vital.
The first installment of Material Pusher 101 gave you a bit of the physics behind pushing your heaviest materials. Now is the fun part. If you aren't sure what type of material pusher suits your operation best, you aren't alone. Here are some questions you ought to consider first:
How Heavy is Your Material?
Are you in need of a solution to push 100 pounds of lumber, or are we talking 1,500 pounds of aluminum or steel? There are material positioners available that can push anywhere from 1 pound up to 2,500 pounds depending on the application needed.
How are you going to keep your material on track?
Seems simple enough. But when you are pushing 2,000+ pounds of material through a saw station you need to consider that it may shift in the process. This can be very dangerous to your operation.
In order to make sure material stays in place, it is good to have the right type of table system in order. A flat table may be a great solution for processing lighter materials, think vinyl or lumber, but heavier loads typically shift outward and potentially move off of the table all together if the right table system is not in place.
A 10 degree tilt table is a great solution and uses the force of gravity to keep material in place while it is being fed through a saw, drill, or punch for example. We all owe a big thanks to our pal Newton. For further information about how 10 degree tilt tables work, see: Apple Incident.
The above table is titled at a 10 degree downward slope keeping material snugly against the back fence as it is pushed forward.
Roller tables are another option for feeding material through various cutoff and drilling processes. It is important that tables are filled in between the rollers. This improves safety and helps prevent pinching. Plastic rollers may also be useful to prevent damage to expensive materials. But for the heaviest loads, steel rollers are your best bet.
If you are concerned about material traveling too quickly as it is fed through your saw- put the breaks on! Friction tables and you want to Another great table solution is called a friction table. This is simply a flat table placed after a roller table which slows down the material as it enters the saw or drill.
Do you need clamping or grippers?
Many people think that using a clamping system with a flat table is sufficient- but often times it is not and can damage the material. This happens frequently with wood material. A tilt table is all you may need to keep material aligned and undamaged as it is being fed through a particular application.
For materials like tube and pipe, grippers are a great solution and don't mar the material.
What kind of pusher foot are you using?
If you are pushing material and you’d like to increase productivity, why not process multiple parts at once? A Gangstop pusher foot allows your operator to load multiple parts for processing.
You can also use a Spring Buffer pusher foot when material being processed is heavy enough to cause serious damage. The Spring Buffer has shock absorbers that cushion your machine against impacts.
What speed are you pushing your material?
Generally speaking, we recommend that you slow down. It isn’t safe to have heavy material flying through your factory floor. But this doesn't mean you have to completely compromise on speed altogether. For example, the TigerTurbo, our high speed accurate feeding system pushes up to 840 pounds and operates at up to 180 feet per minute. This is a highly controlled speed, any faster and you may cause greater problems than you were hoping to solve. For lighter material, pushers can feed as quickly as 25 inches per second, or 1.4 mph. That's a heck of a lot faster than a Galapagos Tortoise.
What can you attach a material pusher on?
Now that we've given you some semblance of material pusher configurations available, it's your duty to determine the machinery you'd like to automate. You can add a material pusher onto a vast number of operations including but not limited to:
Band saws, Benders, Boring Equipment, Chop Saws, Circular Sawing Machines, Cold Saws, Column Saws, Compound Miter Saws, Double Miter Saws, Drill Presses, End Milling Machines, Flywheel Presses, Graule Saws, Haunchers, Horizontal Band Saws, Horizontal Mortisers, Hydraulic Presses, Ironworkers, Miter Saws, CNC Machining Centers, Shears, Presses, Punches, Radial Arm Saws, Straight Line Rip Saws, Optimizing Saws, Tube Cutters, Upcut Saws, Upcut Miter Saws, Veneer Clippers/Slicers, Vertical Mortisers, Vertical Band Saws, and more.
If you need help determining which TigerStop material pusher is best for your application contact TigerStop here or visit the Product Selector below: