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Vertical woodworking: space-saving and ergonomic

Vertical woodworking: space-saving and ergonomic

27 September 2022
SIKO supplies new digital measuring system for vertical panel saw "Edition 60" from Striebig AG

Striebig AG is a generic term for vertical panel saws just like a certain handkerchief brand is for paper tissues. And yet the company from Lucerne, Switzerland with about 70 employees tends to be considered one of the hidden champions. Sixty years ago, carpenter Ludwig Striebig developed a vertical woodworking machine that allowed him to perform vertical and horizontal cutting in an extremely space-saving manner, and he then brought it into series production. Striebig has since then continuously developed the vertical sawing technology and established further variants with more sophisticated technology and automation elements. Many of the machines make use of SIKO measuring systems that allow them to measure the distance along the X and Y axes.

The cutting of large wooden panels takes up a lot of space when using horizontal panel-sizing saws. A vertical panel saw is a mainstay in many joiner’s workshops and DIY stores because it takes up so much less space and is easy and ergonomic to use. The wood panel is placed on rollers in a saw frame at a five-degree angle and leaned against the wall. A movable saw unit can now be used for vertical and horizontal cutting. The X-axis and the Y-axis dimensions for the respective panel can be set via a digital measuring system from the measuring specialist SIKO. Striebig puts priority on ensuring high precision in the process. The magnetic measuring system enables cutting with a precision down to a tenth of a millimeter. As the measuring system also has a fine adjustment feature, once the coarse position has been reached the operator can readjust cutting to within a tenth of a millimeter.

Magnetic length measurement in woodworking

Especially in woodworking, magnetic measuring systems are ideal for length measurement. This is a non-contact process in which a magnetic sensor scans a magnetic tape at a defined distance. "The advantages are robustness, wear resistance and, in our field, especially insensitivity to contamination, e.g. by chips and dust," explains Pius Elmiger, Head of Development & Engineering at Striebig. "A sensitive optical system, for example, is out of the question in this harsh working environment. Mechanical pulley systems, on the other hand, are subject to higher wear, making magnetic measurement the method of choice for our Striebig saws."

Edition 60 with new digital measuring display for the Y-axis

The latest "Edition 60", which Striebig launched on the occasion of its 60th anniversary, uses another SIKO digital measuring display MA502 to set the Y-axis dimensions (including the magnetic sensor MS500). SIKO has customized it to suit the individual requirements of this new woodworking machine. The existing autonomous SIKO measuring system for dimensional adjustment of the vertical cut on the X axis was retained.

Edition 60 is a further development of Striebig’s hand-operated Standard S machine that comes with special additional features, first and foremost the integrated panel lowering device. This enables ergonomic and streamlined one-person panel cutting. Previously, if a trimming cut was needed at the bottom, the panel had to be lifted and rotated by two people and the cut then made at the top. This extra step is eliminated thanks to the panel lowering device that grips, lifts and holds the wooden panel in place, thus facilitating a precise cut at the bottom. The comprehensive basic equipment also guarantees short process times and a safe, hand-operated workflow. As the saw frame has been also been stabilized, 80 kg can be held in place per panel lowering unit. Two panel lowering units are provided as standard, while a third is optional. Edition 60 ensures a high safety standard, as an integrated two-hand control means that the operator cannot reach into the sawing area and injure himself during the positioning process.

Integrating offset values

The new measuring system with further functionalities is necessary in order to be able to set certain offset values (that result from the panel lowering device) on the Y-axis. The basis for the further development is the SIKO standard display MA502, as the offered serial interface RS485 was already suitable for the Striebig machines.

One offset value was needed for the center support. Another offset value results from the aforementioned trimming cut in the lower area. For this, the panel is raised by 58 mm using the panel lowering device. This offset marks the new zero point at the bottom edge of the panel, which now makes it possible to set how large the trimming cut should be.

The referencing of the measuring system when the machine is switched on was also customized to suit the new requirements resulting from the changed zero points.

Operating safety thanks to text notes

Another requirement for the measuring display was the option of also displaying simple, configurable texts and thus communicating with the operator. SIKO enables even more operating safety and process reliability with this addition. Warnings or errors can be displayed, e.g. that the compressed air is dropping or that an error has occurred with the panel lowering device. This provides the operator with targeted information. General information, such as how many hours the machine or the motor has been connected to the power supply, can also be displayed. The measured values are recorded by the control unit and shown on the measuring display.

SIKO: Optimizing standard products to meet customer needs

Devices that are specifically tailored suit to the customer’s needs is one of SIKO’s core competencies. Pius Elmiger describes the joint development work as very constructive and focused: "Starting from the standard display, we were able to define our requirements and also ask SIKO (whose team consistently accommodated us and provided us support with the technical questions) for additions. This allowed devices to be programmed, tested, modified and reinstalled to get a custom-fit solution." Integration of the measuring system into the machine's software was also straightforward thanks to the familiar interface and standard protocols.

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