The overhead shuttle loader is a simple and cost effective solution for picking glass parts individually from a rack of glass and placing it on the line. The outside surface of the glass will be placed in the ‘up’ orientation on the line. The loader usually is coupled with a Turntable for automated rack change. The Turntable has two rack positions and rotates 180 degrees, so that an emptry rack can be replaced with a full rack while the rack on the other side of the Turntable is in process.
The shuttle consists of a main horizontal beam, which has been machined and mounted with a linear motion slide arrangement. A carriage unit is mounted to the slide arrangement, and is driven along the beam via timing belt and AC motor or servo motor depending on the requirement. Attached to the carriage is the vacuum frame sub-assembly. An air cylinder is normally used for tilting of the entire assembly from vertical to horizontal. A vacuum cup sub frame is bearing mounted to the tilting frame. An air cylinder is also typically used for lifting the glass to pick the glass from the rack, and, after tilting, setting the glass back onto the conveyor. The vacuum cups are mounted to aluminum extrusion via T-nuts and handles, which can be loosened, and the cups easily adjusted to a new position. Air hoses are attached to the cups via manifolds and shut-off valves, in order to place some cups out of service for various sizes and shapes of parts. A control panel can be included depending on the needs of the Customer.
Standard systems can be modified with a multitude of sub-assemblies, allowing the Customer to choose the functions and/or level of complexity required. For example:
- Servo Tilt – can be programmed for varying rack angles
- Horizontal Rotation – Servo rotation allows the glass to be set on the line in different orientations depending on the size and or process requirement
- Vertical Axis – provides the ability to pick parts from different heights, for example, if parts are stacked on racks in tiers or levels.
- Servo shuttle axis – typically, an ac motor can be used, but in fast cycle rate applications, a servo motor will be fitted, allowing for faster start/stop and accurate positioning.
- Part location – depending on the application, various squaring systems can be applied.