HPS 320 flexTec at LIGNA 2015: HOLZMA revolutionizes the cutting process

With the HPS 320 flexTec HOLZMA launched a world-first at this year's LIGNA that revolutionizes cutting processes in custom and batch size 1 production. The new cutting cell has been purpose-designed down to the last technical detail for processing single panels and completely redefines the part flow – with fully automated processes and unlimited recuts. At its debut in Hanover, it proved very attractive to customers from both the trade sector and industry.

In batch size 1 production it is important that allocation of parts be clear and production processes as streamlined and seamless as possible. In order to accomplish this, customer orders must pass through the cutting process as compactly and efficiently as possible. Each finished part must be clearly identified and, ideally, arrive at the next processing station correctly positioned and in the right order.   

In order to achieve this efficiently, as many parts of an order as possible must be grouped in one cutting pattern. However, this makes at least one, often more, recuts necessary. In the case of manually operated saws, this results in considerably more work in terms of parts handling. In the case of automated processes, on the other hand, multiple recuts make complex transport equipment necessary to return the parts to the saw. And: completely automated processes with just one cutting line were to date not possible because of the manual work involved: the parts requiring recuts have to be temporarily stored and then returned to the saw (all manually). As a result, error rates increase and overall production costs rise.

Furthermore, conventional saws always have the advantage that they are able to cut single panels (batch size 1) as well as books of panels. However, cutting books of panels places other demands on the machine design. A saw that is specifically intended to cut only single panels allows a completely different approach to certain design aspects, thereby achieving, for example, savings in energy costs. It is also be possible to enhance the dynamics and hence the performance.


Unlimited recuts – fully automatically and flexibly

The new HPS 320 flexTec makes these problems things of the past. This world-first, launched at LIGNA 2015, deals with batch size 1 cutting fully automatically and extremely efficiently with just one saw –with unlimited recuts and maximum flexibility in cutting pattern design. The result is up to 1500 parts per shift from a user-friendly and easily maintained cutting cell. What is more, the HPS 320 flexTec can be connected to an automatic horizontal storage system from HOMAG Automation or integrated in an industrial production line, making it attractive to both the trade sector and industry. An intelligent, modular design allows cutting lines to be configured according to customer specifications and customized in terms of both part flow and output.


HOLZMA redefines the part flow

The core component of the HPS 320 flexTec is an industrial robot with a specially developed suction traverse. It deals with the entire handling of panels, parts and strips – until all the recuts have been completed. How it works: the robot lifts the strip after the first rip cut, rotates it to the correct position for the cross cut and then places the strip on a purpose-designed side machine table (strip buffer). The latter, controlled by the software, feeds the strip back to the rear machine table. Here the strip is automatically aligned and positioned over the cutting line by the clamps.

If a recut is to be completed, the robot immediately places the part on the rear machine table or temporarily stores it – depending on the cutting pattern – on a parts buffer above the pressure beam. In this way, it is possible to complete unlimited recuts automatically and without errors. Finally, the robot collects the finished part from the front machine table and places it, correctly rotated for the next machining station, on the outfeed conveyor with automatic labeling unit.

As this sequence shows, HOLZMA has fundamentally redefined the part flow in batch size 1 cutting with the aid of robot technology. Compared with other solutions, this concept offers distinct advantages: 

  • The robot with its vacuum suction traverse is significantly faster and gentler on the material
  • The availability of the proven industrial robot is close to 100 %, its error rate zero
  • Separate systems for temporary storage, rotating or sorting are not required


It's the design that makes the difference

In terms of design too, HOLZMA has adopted a radically new approach in the HPS 320 flexTec and is the first supplier to implement a saw concept specifically devised for cutting single panels. The benefits are many and varied – a very brief overview: 


  • Small space requirement
    Due to the clever positioning of the robot, the HPS 320 flexTec requires little space. It has just one saw body, one program fence and one waste removal system and dispenses with the need for a turning device. 
  • High material yield
    Material yield increases simply by virtue of the flexibility in cutting pattern layout. In addition, there are technologies that have been developed specifically for the single-panel saw, such as extra thin saw blades. This again reduces waste. 
  • Time and cost savings
    The fully automatic cutting process reduces manpower requirements to a minimum. Just one machine operator is needed to monitor the entire system. That saves valuable time and reduces costs. Further savings are achieved thanks to longer tool service lives, minimum maintenance requirements and less waste. 
  • Optimized use of energy and resources
    The fact that the system has been specifically designed for processing single panels has allowed exceptionally effective, energy-saving dust extraction to be achieved via the right-angled fence. Special dustEx combination air jets on the machine table direct saw dust and shavings precisely in this direction. Dust is extracted horizontally, therefore fewer connections are required. Other features include cutting-edge ecoPlus technologies in all parts of the machine.


HPS 320 flexTec – a revolutionary complete-package solution 

Taken together, these benefits make the HPS 320 flexTec a revolutionary complete-package solution for batch size 1 cutting processes in both trade and industrial sectors. All the expertise that HOLZMA has gained from nearly 50 years' experience in designing panel cutting equipment has gone into this cutting cell. It was, therefore, no surprise that the feedback from visitors to LIGNA was extremely positive. The newly developed system from HOLZMA is ready to go into routine operation and will set new standards in batch size 1 production.


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