This is another machine built with NAS in about the 1998-1999 time frame. As you can tell, NAS was a huge user of aluminum extrusion; for about 5 years or so the were the biggest 80-20 customer in East Tennessee. This machine was built for Avery Dennison in Chicopee, Massachusetts. It took the components of a 3 ring binder; rings, inserts, labels etc, assembled them, arranged them in alternating stacks and put them in a box for shipping.
At least five of these machines were buit over about a three year period. Probably the most interesting feature of the machine was the method of indexing binders from station to station. The binders slid into a loading station, a servo actuated mechanism slid a pair of spring loaded fingers behind the back edge of the binder and pushed it from station to station. As the indexer returned from its push the fingers were pressed duwn beneath the binder surface by the binder itself, as the finger emerged behind the binder the spring would pop it up again.
Whenever relying on a purely mechanical method such as this plenty of sensors and monitoring of torque needs to be used to detect the inevitable crashes. The product is not always completely uniform and operator loading error could also be a factor. Quite a few binders were destroyed in the runoff process. If they weren’t in too bad of shape we used them as project notebooks.
The drive system we used for this system was an Emerson Servo. The nice thing about this particular servo was that it was quite self contained and had a very user friendly software and configuration package. Integrated servo packages existed within the A-B SLC500 platform that we were using but they were much less user friendly than they are today with the Kinetix and Sercos systems used at my current company. A-B also had the Ultra stand alone systems at that time but in my mind they were still much less user friendly.
At a basic level this machine was still a packaging machine despite the assembly parts of it. NAS moved on to building primarily standard equipment as time passed.
Sometimes I do miss the days of simple straightforward projects…