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Coil Processing
Monday | 14 September, 2020 | 11:28 am

Stack 'em up

Written by By Lauren Duensing

Automatic, hands-off coil stacking improves speed, safety

September 2020 - Anyone who’s ever tried to cram an odd-shaped item into a box, or stuff a pile of unfolded clothing into a suitcase, knows that packing is easier when everything is organized and you use the right tools. When packing metal products to ship, there’s the added issue of safety, so not only does a structured operation create ease but it also reduces employees’ risk of injury, particularly when handling heavy materials.

Implementing an automatic coil stacker at the end of a processing line helps eliminate the ergonomic and safety concerns that crop up when handling coils manually, improves operator safety and creates highly organized stacks for packing.

Automatic operation

K&S Machinery Corp., Linden, New Jersey, has engineered an automated, ID-grab Coil Master Stacker with a patent-pending design that senses when the coil on the stacker touches the coil below. The stacker can create single or multiple coil stacks and then place them on a pallet on an in-line or rotary coil sortation table.

“The Coil Master Stacker was first developed to replace and automate a manual ID grab suspended from an overhead crane,” says Peter Korcusko, co-owner of K&S Machinery Corp. “It provides a very safe, automatic, hands-off operation. Once a coil is advanced onto the stacker conveyor, the operator can initiate a single or multiple coil stacking cycles.”

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The K&S Coil Master Stacker can create single or multiple coil stacks and then place them on a pallet on an in-line or rotary coil sortation table.

A manual ID grab requires a lot of maneuvering from operators as they work to line up the grab and stack coils manually, Korcusko says. When doing so, operators are “standing right at the coil, holding and guiding it,” exposing themselves to danger if the coil were to fall. The Coil Master Stacker, on the other hand, is “totally hands off. The operator stands at a control station on the other side of the machine.”

One cycle consists of the coil moving along the line until it automatically stops centered under the coil ID grab. The grab then lowers into the coil’s ID, expands and lifts the coil above the conveyor. If the next coil coming down the line is scheduled to be part of the same stack, the operator can initiate another coil stacking cycle, and the second coil will advance until it’s centered under the ID grab and the first coil. The ID grab will then lower the first coil onto the second coil, collapse and lower under the second coil, expand and lift both coils above the conveyor.

“When the desired amount of coils are stacked, the operator can then choose a pallet loading cycle,” Korcusko says. “The stack of coils is moved to the load position over the selected pallet, then lowered onto the pallet. The ID grab collapses, raises and returns back to the home position.”

Move more material

Coil Master Stackers can handle from 3,000- to 10,000-pound stack weights and K&S Machinery is able to “customize the equipment size and layout,” Korcusko says, which helps companies with less floor space automate their manual coil stacking process. Stackers and rotary sortation tables “take up a lot of space. Ten-thousand-pound packaging lines are very typical, especially with equipment like a 60-inch slitter,” he continues. “However, the first Coil Master Stacker we installed was for 3,500-pound stacks. Most manufacturers aren’t building them that small. We are quoting 10,000-pound units, but they are being used in an area that can’t accommodate the big sortation table—and we’re able to squeeze in a custom design.

“We are working with several customers who are using manual ID grabs suspended from cranes and have limited space requirements,” Korcusko says. “We come in and take measurements of the existing plant layout; see what they are doing now; discuss what they are trying to do, their problems and complaints; and offer a customized design to suit their specific needs.”

K&S also has developed a space-saving, three-station in-line sortation table that works in tight quarters.

The company recently installed a Coil Master Stacker and an inline coil sortation table at a customer that was switching over from using a manual ID grab suspended from a crane. Korcusko says the customer is “very happy with the improved safety and productivity the new equipment has provided.” MM

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