| Article appears in June 2019 Issue



Schmalz is extending its portfolio of efficient vacuum handling systems for the woodworking industry with its area gripper FMHD. This gripper is robust, easy to maintain and, by virtue of its integrated vacuum reservoir, uses very little energy.

Schmalz developed the FMHD for handling workpieces in challenging environments, such as those in the sawmill industry. The gripper can transport cut or planed goods before and after processing, as well as glued boards and walls for prefabricated houses. It is connected via a hose connection to an external vacuum generator, generally an electric vacuum blower or vacuum pump. Internally installed valves keep the installation costs low.

Its compact dimensions and low weight make this gripper ideally suited for operation with gantries and industrial robots. Furthermore, it is exceptionally easy to service: a folding quick-change suction plate permits drying the sealing foam separately from the gripper. At the same time, the interior spaces of the gripper are easily accessible for clearing out sawdust or other residues. Time-consuming refitting operations are unnecessary. A quick-change adhesive film further permits worn-out sealing foams to be replaced effortlessly, with no cleaning required. Maintenance and standstill times may be reduced by up to 70 per cent.

Schmalz offers the gripper in standard lengths of 1040 and 1250mm, and custom lengths are available on request. The workpiece should be at least 50mm wide to ensure that the gripper can lift it reliably.

In the Schmalz portfolio, the FMHD fits between its FMP and SBX models. It is lighter than the SBX and equipped with a tighter suction cell grid but is more robust than the FMP. The FMHD features a favourable price-to-performance ratio and can be easily integrated into older installations.

As an option, Schmalz can equip the gripper with near-field communication, which provides significant data from the system to the operator’s mobile device in real time. As a result, process control is facilitated and faults are discovered quickly, before expensive damage happens.

Millsom Hoists
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