Failure of panel transport in any one area of the factory can have an effect on the whole line, causing expensive downtime, while damage to panels results in lost production and wasted resources. So it is not just speed of handling, but careful handling too that is important.
Thus the efficient handling of panels is obviously vital to any panel factory, keeping production flowing throughout the production process, and it offers a challenge to those machinery suppliers who would try to meet those demands.
Founded in 1986, EMG has seen and seized the opportunity offered by that challenge to offer a range of panel handling lines tailor-made to suit the differing requirements of each production area from after the press to the various finishing lines and beyond.
Using the experience gained in the wood panel business, EMG has also moved into the handling of steel sheets – in polishing lines for example.
The company has wood based panel making customers all over the world, with virtually all its production being exported.
With this fact in mind, EMG decided to open its first overseas sales and manufacturing operation and, perhaps unsurprisingly, chose Brazil as its location as it is a particularly strong market for the company, where its customers include Eucatex, Duratex, Berneck and Tafisa.
The facility opened in April in Curitiba.
"With a lot of customers in the region, we will be able to give service to them locally," said Marco Conzadori, son of one of the founders of EMG. "At present, it only covers the wood division and some products will be supplied from here and some will be manufactured in Curitiba.
"The facility is a joint venture with local technicians and is located in a new building, with new manufacturing and all staff experienced in the wood branch; they are also all local people," said Mr Conzadori. "We will develop additional facilities there in time," he added.
The company also has plans to extend its factory at home, adding 33% to its workshop area by adding an additional bay to the side of the existing three-bay building. This will take the total production area up to 4,000m2 and, at the time of WBPI’s visit in June, was scheduled to be completed in September. The robot mowing machines which cut the grass areas around the factory continuously will of course need to be re-programed!
The range of EMG products for the panel industry starts with transporting panels from the press on to squaring/cut-to-size lines – with saws if required- and handling for sanding, inspection, painting and strapping lines.
High-speed panel handling without overlaps is an essential part of many of these systems.
Apart from all types of conventional conveyors, the company also offers bridge clamps, vacuum bridges, lifting tables, stack tippers, elevators, panel strip stackers and covering machines, automatic transfer truck systems and automatic storage systems.
An unusual product offered is the perforating line. This includes vacuum de-stacker, individual panel feeder, punching press, an automatic bridge system for protection board insertion/extraction and a chain conveyor for stack handling. Designed for use with fibreboards, Mr Conzadori said the system can be used to perforate any kind of board, saying: "If you can perforate fibreboard you can perforate anything since it is the most difficult to do cleanly".
Under assembly in the workshop at the time of our visit was an 18m bridge system, employing fork tines rather than vacuum cups on this occasion, designed to lift stacks of panels from a cut-to-size system and convey them to several strapping stations for different size panels.
Similar, though generally smaller, bridge systems are also supplied to handle single panels, this time using vacuum cups.
Apart from handling systems for wood based panels and steel sheet, EMG has also turned its delicate-handling expertise to lines for filling shot gun cartridges.
Coming back to the core business – panels – Mr Conzadori reported a very active Ligna exhibition in May and said that his company had made a lot of useful contacts and had even finalised some orders at the show.