Latest Alpine Partnership Enhances Automated Solutions for CMs
Originally published by: Alpine & House of Design — September 1, 2020
by Shane Dittrich, CEO, House of Design
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Shane Dittrich, CEO
House of Design
At a trade show last fall, my business partner and I met a third-generation owner of a truss plant. He was in search of ideas, perhaps a fresh perspective, new technology maybe? Something to help his business continue. His frustrations had been mounting over the past couple of years due to – a lack of skilled and willing labor, not wanting to pull more investment if production couldn’t fulfill the required sales quotas, etc. He was at a crossroads with his business. After that introduction, he told us there was hope. Our Automated Systems had provided him some optimism that his business might continue after all.
Automation & Manufacturing
As the rate of automation adoption increases across US manufacturing, our House of Design (HoD) team is working with clients and industries who are in desperate need for new solutions to old problems. We have made a name for ourselves by creating advanced robotic solutions for leading companies in apparel, consumer goods, and medical manufacturing. Slowly and strategically, HoD has been working to build our experience and expertise in the components industry with the help of Alpine, a leading provider of industry solutions and increased business productivity for component manufacturers. We are working with business leaders, who see the tangible benefits of automation and are ready to invest in new practices that will provide a competitive advantage. We are focused on disrupting traditional markets by providing highly advanced solutions that empower companies to take their manufacturing to the next level.
To best serve the components industry, House of Design and Alpine have partnered to bring six state-of-the-art automated solutions to market, targeting common problems: lack of skilled labor, quality, and production capacity. House of Design and Alpine are both leaders in their respective industries and a partnership between the companies brings two very progressive companies together to the benefit of clients. “Alpine is bringing its industry expertise, leading component equipment, and ‘know-how’ to the partnership with House of Design which brings unmatched robotics integration. We are looking forward to this partnership delivering unparalleled automation to the industry” stated Kevin Kraft, Vice President & General Manager of Alpine.
ABB 4600 robots positioning lumber in the press for preplating prior to roof truss assembly.
We are focusing on the common problems truss manufacturers are experiencing, the lack of skilled labor, quality, and production capacity. Most of the tasks necessary to building truss systems require workers to be stooped all day resulting in injuries and overall wear and tear on employees. As an alternative, robots are designed for repetitive tasks and can move and manage material throughout a shift without slowing. Robots are often paired with vision technologies that allow for inline inspection which ensures goods are produced to exact standards every time. We are not necessarily trying to reinvent how something is manufactured, we are using robots to assist workers and help with the heavy lifting. For example, building a truss on a table is nothing new, using robots to place boards and move components alleviates stress on workers while increasing production capacity and improving quality.
Robots do the repetitive and heavy lifting.
In addition to robotic picking and placing, a driving key to our component assembly systems is the preplate technology. Our preplate stations paired with truss editing software, provide for the right connector plate at the right location and required orientation. Our patent pending automated preplating decreases interactions with connector plates for improved employee safety and delivers precise placement for less waste. No industry standard flipping required. We are excited about the preplate stations and their versatility and ability to provide results for increased jack truss demand.
Multi-functional end-of-arm tools (this one nicknamed “bird beaks”) use both pneumatics and vacuum for movement of lumber throughout the automated line.
In closing, I ask “What is the plan and how can we assist?” How will component manufacturers respond to unprecedented demand for housing and therefore building components, paired with the continued shortage of reliable and skilled labor? We have solutions, not concepts but tested products ready for your exploration! Together we can help drive truss plants into a thriving and sustainable future.
Contact your Alpine Sales Representative or visit alpineITW.com to learn how to leverage this technology to improve your business today.
Assembly of floor trusses – ABB robots place spliced and preplated chords with connector plates on the bottom. Webs are placed with connector plates on the top to avoid flipping.