Whether a company is a custom shop or a high-production manufacturer, developing proper materials handling methods for storing, stacking and moving raw materials and workpieces within the shop, can be a critical component to the woodworking operation.

How items flow through the woodworking plant can impact operations in a number of ways, from compliance with OSHA safety standards to improving productivity and reducing costs. Proper materials handling can also be key in quality control management.

A number of material handling systems are available in the marketplace to help automate the process and streamline production. Among those is the automated vacuum gripper system from Joulin. A foam-based vacuum system, Joulin’s Check Valve Gripper was among the new products on display at the 2014 International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta.

According to John Eldridge, general manger of Joulin North America, various system sizes are available. With the right system in place, the Check Valve Gripper can handle small or nested parts to full sheets and larger with wood handling systems ranging up to 100 feet construction sections, he says.

“The VG line of grippers have large opening apertures allowing dust, dirt and debris to flow through the valves, not clogging them,” Eldridge adds.

This unit (pictured), as well as Joulin’s full line systems, are able to run in full automatic, semi-automatic and manual mode, he says. Standard sizes are available as well as custom options. Joulin.com


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