Robots to boost production output
GATOR MILLWORKS will soon unveil a new state-of-the-art 4645m2 inventory storage and retrieval system. The new, Germanmade automated Intellistore system will manage the company’s wood inventory, increase productivity and make its old forklift operations obsolete, says company president Chad Foster.
Wood will be moved by a large robotic arm outfitted with suction cups under the new system. A series of rails will be attached to the walls of a 140m2 fenced-in area, where no workers can reach, for the arm to move about, Foster says. The arm will carry plywood from the stacks to the receiving end of panel saws for cutting. There will also be designated drop zones outside the fence where new materials will be unloaded and placed for the system to bring inside the fenced-in storage area.
Foster says the system eliminates the need for employees to oversee the inventory in the warehouse and also ensures pieces of plywood needed for each work day are ready each morning. It even stacks the wood so that the pieces needed first are at the top of the pile.
For example, if the company has an order for a white oak shelf and the white oak plywood is buried beneath a hundred other pieces of plywood, then the automated system will work overnight to move each piece of plywood until it reaches the white oak and places those pieces at the panel saw where the wood will be cut.
“So when you come in the next day for your shift, that material is ready to go,” Foster says.
Gator Millworks is a fullservice architectural woodworking company that handles both residential and commercial jobs.