Hand stripping is often a bottleneck – it’s dusty, noisy and can be the cause of injuries to the wrists and back. It is also slow and labor intensive. Delicate products can be damaged and excess waste is common place. Some companies outsource this activity, most take on hand laborers according to the demands of production. However, Brandtjen & Kluge is providing an automatic solution to answer the needs for off-line blanking and stripping.
“A lot of people think it is some sort of die cutter. In fact it is a highly productive method of waste removal that is gaining popularity in the shorter run market – typically between 5,000 and 30,000 sheets”
The TXR Series of blank separators was originally developed by Kawahara Print & Packaging Company of Japan to solve the problems associated with hand stripping in its own print operation. Other companies were so impressed that a small machinery sales company was established. Today there are over 150 machines in operation in Japan. Kawahara has granted Kluge the exclusive rights to distribute the TXR blanker to the North American market. Today there are numerous machines in daily operation around the US and Canada that are supported by a local service and parts organization.
The TXR-1100 Blanking System can process sheets up to 32”x43” at a rate of three (48”) skids per hour, or one skid every 20 minutes. Although originally developed for folding carton production, the TXR-1100 has found a following with companies that produce plastics packaging, plastic labels and cosmetic work. Since plastic stock is extremely difficult to work with by hand, the TXR blanking system dramatically increases productivity. Waste factors drop since typical air hammers or knives are not used and marking of the stock is eliminated.
“A lot of people think it is some sort of die cutter” says Tom Cernera, North American Sales Manager for Brandtjen & Kluge. “In fact it is a highly productive method of waste removal that is gaining popularity in the shorter run market – typically between 5,000 and 30,000 sheets”.
There is no special tooling required other than a simple plastic template for each design to be stripped. Templates can be made by hand or through software and a standard CAD system. The templates can be stored and reused. The templates transfer the design to a lower bed of narrow rubber tipped pins that are configured to the waste outline of a sheet design and an upper bed that uses those pins to exert pressure on the stack of sheets; thereby separating the blanks from the waste. The entire setup process takes less than 30 minutes, including the templates.
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“The increase in productivity and reduction in direct labor over a 3 shift operation can give many companies a fantastic return on investment – many times less than 6 months”.
The TXR is designed to strip a stack of material approximately 3” high. The cycle time is under 60 seconds, regardless of how many blanks are on the sheets or stock thickness. After this process the operator transfers the blanks to a conveyor or possibly boxes. The remaining waste is removed from the machine. Typically, the machine is 5-6 times faster than hand stripping and there is no heavy labor involved. The automatic paper feeder transfers sheets from pallets to the pin bed automatically and eliminates another manual step. Repeat jobs can be set up in as little as 10 minutes so this becomes very attractive for the shorter runs and operations that have a larger number of changeovers each day. Cernera continues: “The increase in productivity and reduction in direct labor over a 3 shift operation can give many companies a fantastic return on investment – many times less than 6 months”.
Over the years the TXR systems have proven to be virtually problem free. The simple design adds to the reliability of the machine. When service, operator training or parts are needed a fully trained staff is available to solve any problem.
High volume manufacturers will still look to in-line blanking as a solution to long run projects. The Kluge TXR blanking system enables a smaller operation to achieve the same high level of productivity as an in-line system at a fraction of the cost and eliminating costly hand labor and excess waste. “Stripping on shorter runs remains an area that has defied automation. We now have a solution that makes sense and solves many problems at once” concludes Mr. Cernera.