Automated sheet metal handling and sorting for laser cutting – Bystronic

Swiss sheet metalworking equipment manufacturer, Bystronic, has developed a new loading and unloading system, ByTrans Cross, for its fiber laser cutting machines. It offers users full automation for producing long runs of components while retaining the flexibility of manual handling for fulfilling smaller jobs.

With the very high cutting speeds that fiber laser technology allows, there is a risk that the supply of material and unloading of completed parts and skeletons are unable to keep up, causing bottlenecks and reducing productivity. In such cases, maximising the capabilities of the machine requires an effective material handling system.

With ByTrans Cross, the key benefit is its flexibility due to the modular design. It can be integrated between a laser cutting center and a warehouse, but is equally suitable as a stand-alone solution to ensure efficient supply of raw metal sheets in various thicknesses and materials to the laser cutting machine.

Automated sorting option
The basic configuration has two loading carriages for storing material. However, with the addition of the new, optional BySort bridge and two sorting heads with gripper modules, unloading with the ByTrans Cross becomes even more versatile.

The automatic sorting system, which can be factory ordered or retrofitted, deposits processed sheet metal components onto a pair of pallets next to the laser cutting center. It supports users manufacturing large series where the cut parts need to be unloaded quickly and stacked.

The repeatability with which BySort places the parts is of advantage, as particularly with large cut parts, accuracy of placement is difficult to achieve manually. Precise positioning on palettes facilitates the automation of subsequent processes, as it allows reliable position detection.

Moreover, BySort increases the speed of the entire unloading process. Firstly, the cut parts are unloaded and sorted. Subsequently, using a different route, the ByTrans unloads the skeleton. It ensures that the laser cutting system’s shuttle table is more quickly available for loading of the next sheet, which the ByTrans Cross brings from its own stock or from the connected warehouse.

Both ByTrans Cross and BySort are controlled using the laser cutting system’s touch screen. Bystronic’s ByVision Cutting user interface, which is already being used on the latest generation of Bystronic’s fiber lasers, integrates the cutting processes and the connected automation. It removes the need for an operator to waste time walking between separate terminals for the laser cutting system and the automation equipment.

For more information contact First Cut on TEL: 011 614 1112 or visit