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Safe automatic handling of glass sheets with Piab’s vacuum technology

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Forvet glass handling system

Using Piab’s DURAFLEX® high-friction suction cups, VGS™5010 vacuum generators and piSAVE® devices, Forvet SpA has created end-of-arm tools that allow handling sheets of different sizes in their COMBIFLEX cutting-edge glass processing system installed at a leading multinational in the building sector.

Forvet's COMBIFLEX system is considered a jewel of technology, combining six machines in one, simultaneously grinding, milling, drilling, washing and drying the finished product.

Piab products are used for automatic loading and unloading of the sheets to completion of the operations performed by the system. In the frame of the sheet loader, DURAFLEX® suction cups pick up the glass in a vertical position from a machine rack and place it in a horizontal position on the line workbench. The same suction cups positioned on the automatic unloading frames pick up the glass in a horizontal position from the line bench and place it in a vertical position on the machine rack.

Sheets between 3 to 19 mm [0.12 to 0.75 in] thickness are handled, which can have a significant weight load depending on the size of the glass sheets. The glass is loaded fully automatically, avoiding risks connected with manual operations. Manual loading and unloading of glass of significant size and weight would not be possible for a single operator without the use of specific equipment, which would lead to limitations and extended loading/unloading times, not to mention the risk of product breakage

With Piab's components, Forvet has been able to increase productivity, thanks to the absolute gripping reliability of the solutions supplied, improving the ergonomics of the machines and allowing the end customer to benefit from considerable energy savings.

Dr. Francesca Gariglio, Marketing Manager & Sales Coordinator at Forvet says: "Our machines work in wet environments and handle sheets of glass which are fragile elements. We have to be sure that the grip is optimal and reliable. We cannot afford any malfunctions when picking up the glass, and even more so when unloading it after processing has been carried out. Therefore, we have chosen a reliable partner like Piab".

Eng. Gallo, Forvet's technician, adds: "We have been working with Piab for some time. We are familiar with their vacuum generators and DURAFLEX® suction cups, having already used them on our other glass processing systems, such as FORBOT and KEY. We collaborate professionally with the technicians of the Italian branch, appreciating their quick response, commitment to solving problems, respect for delivery times and advice on the start-up of new systems. For us this is a crucial aspect together with the quality of the product and the reason why we chose Piab".

Piab's DURAFLEX® suction cups are ideal for handling flat surfaces as they provide a great grip stability and a high friction force. They are made of durable DURAFLEX®, a patented material specially developed by Piab, that combines the elasticity of rubber with the wear resistance of polyurethane. This material is particularly suitable for contact with glass sheets due to its mark-free properties.

The VGS™5010 generators are based on Piab's COAX® vacuum generation technology, which minimizes energy consumption while offering safe and fast gripping, thanks to its high initial flow rate. The pump unit can deliver high performance even with low or fluctuating supply pressure. This has been proven in independent comparative tests conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU in Dresden. These tests showed that Piab ejectors require significantly less compressed air to achieve the same result as ejectors from other suppliers. As a result, the use of Piab ejectors reduces the cost of compressed air supply and thus the total cost of production.

Piab's piSAVE® devices are mounted onto the VGS™5010 vacuum generators to further reduce air consumption. piSAVE® ON/OFF saves compressed air by interrupting the generator's pneumatic supply when the desired vacuum level is reached, while the suction cups maintain their grip. piSAVE® Release allows rapid release of the material being handled without the need for pilot signals and without additional compressed air consumption.

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