Press Loading Station

Challenge: Design equipment to automatically load a punch press.

Solution: This station loads metal blanks into a forming press, and then removes the completed part from the press. The station includes all of the mechanical design, electrical and controls design, as well as cell and press safety interfaces.

The station includes a walking beam style pick and place. It takes blank blades from a stack and coins them out from the bottom. The blades are then walked to an intermediate station at the front of the press, and then moved into the press. Once the blanks are punched, they are removed from the press and placed onto a second stack. The second stack includes a magazine that can be unloaded from the machine.

The system is built on a sturdy machine base, and is designed to be quickly mounted to the press. The carriage that holds the blades operates about the center of the press, so adjustments are as easy as opening up the carriage to the proper size, while maintaining all other alignments.

This station also includes one adjustable head that may be conformed to the blade configuration required. All operations are controlled by a PLC and basic push buttons. The station cycles in automatic mode based on a signal from the press. It also passes a signal to the press to confirm cycle completion. The integration includes all e-stops and other safety features as required.

The machine is sized to run for a minimum of one-half hour without reloading, and can place up to 350 blanks per hour. The quantity of blades per year is estimated at 2.1 million blades, based on 3 shifts, 5 days per week, 50 weeks.


Change-over time is approximately 10-15 minutes, and requires adjusting the width of the blank blade, and head locations for the punched parts.

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