Comelz, multi-ply cutting in an Industry 4.0 scopeLeader in cutting machines for the footwear and leather goods industries, Comelz has developed an innovative multi-ply cutting system that optimizes each phase in production.
How does it work?
The system can be configured to meet the needs of the customer (in terms of quantity, flexibility, floor space available in the company, and integration with pre-existing IT systems).
The classic configuration is to insert a roll holder into the line and then cut a number of plies that is equal to the number of rolls. This configuration, which is one possible option, has a number of defects, however, including the fact that various rolls can have different heights, lengths, and colours. Moreover, the phase dedicated to preparing all the rolls equals significant downtime in production, without the flexibility needed to pass from one material to the next or from one order to another.
Phase 1 (Planning)
A dedicated software is used to plan production:
- Order entry or order import from the ERP system of the customer
- Completely automated placement (nesting) in accordance with material properties
- Printed report (a printed sheet with barcodes for every multi-ply spread that must be prepared).
Phase 2 (Spread preparation)
Multi-ply spreads are prepared outside of the production line in parallel to cutting. Based on the nesting software report, the spreads are prepared with the precise length (which equals a significant savings in material).
The spreads can be prepared using the company’s pre-existing machinery or by using the compact, inexpensive and flexible system supplied by Comelz (roll holders, electric trimmer, and spreading table with centimetre precision and an alignment system).
Phase 3 (Spread cutting)
The cutting machine operator need only read the barcode and use the Ply-Shifter, a special device with patent pending, which for all intents and purposes is a flat movable table that allows the material to be positioned on the work surface of the cutting unit so that cutting can commence. At this point, there is no need for manual repositioning by the operator, and while the machine continues to cut and work without any downtime, the operator is free to begin reading the barcode and positioning the next spread on the Ply-Shifter for loading onto the machine.
Once the pieces have been cut by the machine, a sole operator can easily unload them: also in this case, just one operator is needed.
The Comelz CZ/L cutting island is specifically studied for multi-ply cutting, with a cutting capacity of up to 1000 pieces per hour for every ply cut (quantities can very slightly depending on the model, material, and number of plies). Moreover, it is capable of cutting thicknesses up to 18mm, while allowing for online or offline nesting, in accordance with the needs of the operator. Finally, as with all Comelz cutting machines, it is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and integrated with the needs of the Industry 4.0.
In the footwear industry, the Comelz multi-ply cutting system has received extremely positive feedback, above all from sports and technical footwear manufacturers (and in terms of geographical areas, above all from Asia), who are looking for material savings, “just in time” manufacturing, and integration with pre-existing IT systems.
The same multi-ply cutting system is also meeting up with great success in the leather goods industry (and especially the luxury segment), which is characterized by a wide range of materials and a great need for flexibility and quality.