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Four Reasons Not to Hate Buffering (At Least When It Comes To Automation)

Posted by Craig Newberry | Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Online, buffering gets a bad rap. But when it comes to buffering in an automation process, there’s a simple but incredibly effective solution that saves space, saves money, and saves lead time. I won’t leave you hanging; read on to learn more about the Machine Buffering Solution from Glide-Line.

bufferingGlide-Line’s Machine Buffering Solution is a vertical buffer. By stacking accumulated products vertically in a vertical sortation and storage device, this device is able to take the place of other accumulation or buffer solutions without taking up floor space. It can also be applied in an automation system as a racking or short-term storage solution. This simple solution is a standard option from Glide-Line, and it can be easily customized to fit your client’s automation process.



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This solution allows an operator to load up a machine with unfinished goods and lets the machine automatically load pallets to the buffer device. It can even simultaneously unload pallets if that’s needed.

We’ve accomplished this using a DC electric motor, and clients are able to choose what kind of motor they’d like to use. An DC step-servo-driven conveyor can be programmed to stop at multiple positions, customizable to the millimeter, within a lift stroke. This innovative use of step-servo or servo-driven motor allows for multiple stops along a conveyor and in an elevator, instead of just two stops, which is the more traditional approach. This is what makes the Machine Buffering Solution so powerful: it is powered by conveyor motions through a servo-driven motor, making it a unique Vertical Transfer Unit.


Challenges Solved by the Machine Buffering Solution

1. Product Motion Control

The Machine Buffering Solution’s speed, precise motion control and accuracy are especially good for delicate products or products requiring precision movement, such as liquids. With a stepper or servo-driven conveyor programmed for multiple positions, you’re also able to start slowly and ramp up the speed, then reduce speed slowly without disrupting the product.

2. Precision Product Placement

Imagine using the Machine Buffering Solution to load and unload products into a large, multi-level storage system (like an empty library card catalog) using multiple positions in servo-driven conveyors able to stop at any location. That’s what one of our clients uses this device for, along with the Glide-Line 360 for added flexibility in motion.

3. Short Term Storage

Many clients use the Machine Buffering Solution for short-term storage as part of their automation process. Instead of holding up the line waiting for products to cure or set, loading them into the Buffer device gives them a short-term home and allows the process to keep flowing at a high rate. Once the curing process is complete, the products easily and automatically rejoin the line for the next operation.

4. Saves Floor Space

Storing or accumulating vertically helps reduce the floor space needed for that part of the process. It’s a more efficient use of space.

The Machine Buffering Solution is unique. Not only can it stop at varying heights vertically with absolute precision, it’s also completely freeform and configurable when it comes to size and timing. Lead times are fast, since this device is built from standard components. This cost-effective solution to challenges our integrator clients face makes it a natural fit in many automated conveyor processes.

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Topics: Conveyor System Designs, Reduce Conveyor Lead Time, Increasing Throughput

Written by Craig Newberry

Craig Newberry is a Business Unit Manager for Glide-Line. His past involvement in a variety of competitive sports along with current passion for obstacle course races spills over into his desire to drive business forward. Concurring challenges is what motivates him on daily basis, while his family is what fuels his desire to succeed in life. Although a bit of an adrenaline junky, he also tries to live by a brilliant statement made by Ferris Bueller “life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you may miss it.”

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Glide-Line offers the most versatile multi-strand panel and pallet-handling solution available for the assembly automation industry.

We solve problems that other conveyor systems manufacturers won’t. We developed Glide-Line from the ground up with a few key, driving factors in mind. First, our conveyors had to be robust and reliable. Second, they would be simple – easy to maintain and service. Finally, we insisted on flexible configurability, creating an efficient, hassle-free customer experience. We’ve built the most versatile multi-strand panel and pallet-handling solution available for the assembly automation industry.

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