PL Applicator Series Shuttle Chuck Advancement – Concurrent Die-cut Part Feed and Placement Including In-line Inspection and Reject Handling Options

Print and Apply Labeling Systems

In 2015 Nautilus Systems, Inc. implemented a servo actuated vacuum chuck shuttle, the Shuttle Chuck, that provides several advantages and options for our customers. The basic principle of the shuttle chuck is to:

  1. Increase parallel/concurrent operations in the PL applicator to reduce cycle time
  2. Provide a method for ‘just in time’ inspection of features of the die-cut component
  3. Provide a turnkey method for disposing of rejected die-cut parts by placing them back onto the waste liner to be wound up with the spent liner including a confirmation sensor
  4. Increase speed of PL applicator by reducing tamp stroke distances for certain applications

The Shuttle Chuck uses a servo motor and cam to provide a precision horizontal motion of the chuck between the pickup and placement positions. The Shuttle Chuck stroke is 100mm. When the Shuttle Chuck is at the retracted position it is ready to pickup die-cuts from the liner and/or place the die-cut part on the reject platen. When at the extended position the Shuttle Chuck is ready to apply a die-cut part on the target substrate. While a part is being applied the Shuttle Chuck does not interfere with operation of the PL peel bar which allows the next die-cut part to be fed into precison pickup location concurrent to die-cut placement.

Also, when at the extended position the Shuttle Chuck allows a camera inspection system to be used to inspect the next die-cut part from above. Inspections may include printed feature content, location, or quality or other physical aspects of the die-cut parts that can be measured using an inspection camera. Each application of cameras and vision systems can be customized and engineered based on the requirements of the application by Nautilus or by our customers. This allows each die-cut part to be inspected ‘on demand’ and with a clean and easy method of rejection when necessary.

When the Shuttle Chuck extends 100mm to the application position it creates an opportunity in some applications to minimize the tamp stroke required for application because the die-cut part is moved forward 100mm with the Shuttle Chuck. Dependent on the physical configuration of customer automation and tooling this configuration may make it possible to operate the applicator with minimal tamp stroke and corresponding reduction in cycle time.

For more info please contact Nautilus Systems, Inc.

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