It all started with the demand from wooden window manufacturers for a smart solution for sanding their piece-by-piece production. But many years of development, which have brought mechanical and program updates, have made ROBA Fentech from MB Maschinenbau an all-rounder that covers the entire spectrum for sanding profiles.

Many Fentech machines have thus already been installed in companies that are only indirectly comparable with window production, but all applications have in common the task of facilitating “batch size one” production in the field of profile sanding.

A high level of personnel has always been necessary here, while the variety of parts is unmanageably large and at the same time the quantities decreased. A highly automated solution such as the ROBA Fentech from MB Maschinenbau is required. 

Time-consuming adjustment of the Fentech is no longer necessary, which is made possible by the scanner-based parts recognition at the machine inlet and the subsequent axis-controlled adjustment of the sanding units. All professional cross-sections are recognised and implemented in a corresponding sanding program for four-sided processing.

The part scanning calculates the workpiece geometry and informs the units of the position to be approached in fractions of a second. When all units are in their position, the workpiece is released and sent through the machine. 

Extra-large sanding tools with a diameter of 400mm ensure a maximised contact surface with the workpiece, and jump control of the sanding heads ensures gentle short edge sanding and extends the service life of the abrasives.

All sanding units have an oscillation stroke optimised by the PLC. Taking into account the height and width of the part, the stroke is always driven in such a way that the abrasives are always completely used.

Another novelty is the vacuum transport system, which makes it possible to send all imaginable parts through the machine. Even short parts that could not previously be integrated into the sanding process do not pose a problem. This type of transport system makes it possible to dispense with any side stops and top pressure rollers, which considerably simplifies operation. 

The operator has the option of operating the machine as a through feed machine or activating a reversal of the workpieces in the machining program. In this case, the workpieces are sent through the machine for sanding at approx. 20 m/min and then returned to the operator in rapid traverse. One-man operation is therefore possible at any time.

Parts that require intensive sanding can even be sanded a second time in the return. Higher volume of common shaped parts can be achieved by switching off the scanner. 

The ROBA Fentech has now found a new customer in England, where it was recently successfully installed at David Salisbury. David Salisbury designs and manufactures quality conservatories and garden rooms which have won many awards and are always custom built. Customer demand for exclusivity and quality make the task difficult, but highly interesting. Each conservatory is unique and therefore the individual parts are always project-related and never comparable. A typical “batch size one” production for David Salisbury, but also for the newly acquired ROBA Fentech profile sanding machine.

The challenge here was to cover the profile variance from the glass profile to the profiles of the roof construction. Profile cross-sections from 10x10mm to 240x80mm, in the smallest quantities of one to a maximum of 10 identical profiles, sometimes up to 6m long, but also only 240mm short, must be sanded without any set-up effort. 

After a long market analysis, David Salisbury decided that the exceptional qualities of the ROBA Fentech were best suited to meeting its exacting requirements. Now, once installed, just one person can sand batches of parts with wildly different profiles in a fraction of the time it used to take. All parts are sanded with consistent quality, which was a serious weakness in previous manual process. 

During commissioning, David Salisbury explored the requirements for the ROBA Fentech to the limit, but was able to determine that the ingenious “batch size one” principle of the machine, based on many design and programming details, is hard to rival. 

A profile sander that only has to be loaded and unloaded with parts, with the technology built into the machine scanner and setting deals with every profile, proved a winning concept.