Stiles Machinery introduced Homag’s intelliGuide, a panel saw operator assistance system, at the 2017 AWFS fair. IntelliGuide supports the saw operator by responding to their movements in real time and guiding them with an LED light strip and laser technology that is projected directly onto the workpieces during operation.
The technology can be incorporated into any new panel saws offered by Homag or Stiles that feature modern compatible controls. Scott Cruickshank, sales manager at Stiles Machinery, says woodworking manufacturers can use it to increase their productivity regardless of their employees’ skill levels.
“One of the major issues today is the skill level of new employees, and anytime you add a new piece of machinery there is a learning curve,” says Cruickshank. “The idea behind this system is two-fold. One, it can make inexperienced workers experienced, and two, it can help the integration of technology move as smoothly as possible in the shortest period of time.”
Offered in a modular structure, intelliGuide becomes more sophisticated with each version (Basic, Advanced and Professional).
With the Professional version, machine operators experience complete visual support. An LED strip at the cutting line lights up in different colors and lengths, allowing them to see the next action to be performed. This version employs a camera system, which also detects where each workpiece is, then tells the operator which workpiece needs to be inserted in the saw and in what way.
If the operator makes a mistake, the system responds by adjusting the saw’s actions or informing the operator of the appropriate steps to correct the error.
“Say you have a new operator and need him to be productive on a machine but you don’t have a lot of time for training someone new. This visual system will help them to operate the machine, safely and effectively with the least amount of oversight. The screen prompts a new operator when to move the panels and what order to put them in,” explains Cruickshank.
The Advanced version operates without a laser projection system but includes the LED strip and camera. The Basic version only guides the operator with the LED strip at the cutting line.
The system sells for $4,500 (Basic) to $25,000 (Professional).
For more, visit www.stilesmachinery.com.
This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue.