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Title:
A PART COLLECTOR, AN ARRANGEMENT AND A METHOD FOR COLLECTING PARTS CUT FROM A SHEET-LIKE MATERIAL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/145603
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A part collector (1) for a machine (20) for cutting parts (2) from a sheet-like material (3) comprises a carriage (4) for collecting the parts (2). The carriage comprises a planar surface (5) for receiving the parts, a frame (6), and at least one moving element (7) enabling a movement of the carriage. The moving element (7) is connected to the frame.

Inventors:
KÄLDMAN, Leif (Öjesvägen 82, Bennäs, 68910, FI)
Application Number:
FI2019/050044
Publication Date:
August 01, 2019
Filing Date:
January 21, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
KÄLDMAN, Leif (Öjesvägen 82, Bennäs, 68910, FI)
International Classes:
B23Q7/00; B23K26/70; B23K37/04; B23Q7/08; B26D7/18
Foreign References:
FR2853573A12004-10-15
US20160297036A12016-10-13
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KOLSTER OY AB (P.O.Box 204, Helsinki, Helsinki, 00181, FI)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLA1MS

1. A part collector (1) for a machine (20) for cutting parts (2) from a sheet-like material (3), the part collector comprising

a carriage (4) for collecting the parts (2), wherein the carriage comprises

a planar surface (5) for receiving the parts,

a frame (6), and

at least one moving element (7) enabling a movement of the carriage, wherein the moving element (7) is connected to the frame,

c h a r a c t e r i z e d in that

the carriage (4) and a planar surface (5) thereof has a width of in the direction transverse to the direction of movement thereof equal to or larger than the width of a cutting area (26) of the machine (20) in the same direction,

the carriage is arranged to move over the whole length of the cutting area (26) and to an unloading position outside the cutting area, whereby

the planar surface (5) has an angled position in the range of 0 to 80 degrees compared to a horizontal plane,

the planar surface comprises a stopping element (9) arranged at an end of the said planar surface.

2. A part collector (1) according to claim 1, wherein the stopping element (9) has a first stopping element position, wherein the stopping element is arranged at an angle in the range of 40-130 degrees compared to the planar surface to prevent parts collected on the planar surface from falling off the planar surface, and a second stopping element position, wherein the stopping element is arranged at an angle greater than 130 degrees compared to the planar surface to unload parts collected on the planar surface off the planar surface.

3. A part collector (1) according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the part collector (1) further comprises at least one guiding element (8), and wherein the at least one moving element (7) of the carriage (4) is arranged to connect with the guiding element (8) in such a manner that the guiding element (8) guides the movement of the carriage (7).

4. A part collector (1) according to claim 3, wherein the guiding element (8) comprises a rail.

5. A part collector (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the part collector further comprises a control element (11) for controlling at least one of the following: a position of the carriage (4), a position of the planar surface (5), and a position of the stopping element (9).

6. A part collector (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the part collector (2) has at least

a waiting position outside a work area (27) of the cutting means (21), a collecting position wherein the carriage (4) is positioned under the part (2), but not under the cutting means (21), and

an unloading position outside the cutting area (26) of the machine (20).

7. An arrangement (10) for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material, the arrangement comprising:

a machine (20) for cutting parts (2) from a sheet-like material (3), the machine (20) comprising cutting means (21) for cutting parts (2) from the sheet like material (3),

a part collector (1) comprising a carriage (4) for collecting the parts (2), having a planar surface (5) for receiving the parts, a frame (6), and at least one moving element (7) enabling a movement of the carriage, wherein the moving element (7) is connected to the frame, c h a r a c t e r i z e d in that

the carriage (4) and a planar surface (5) thereof has a width of in the direction transverse to the direction of movement thereof equal to or larger than the width of a cutting area (26) of the machine (20) in the same direction, and the carriage is arranged to move over the whole length of the cutting area (26) and to an unloading position outside the cutting area, whereby

the planar surface (5) has an angled position in the range of 0 to 80 degrees compared to a horizontal plane, and

the planar surface comprises a stopping element (9) arranged at an end of the said planar surface, whereby

a control unit (12) is arranged to control the positions of the cutting means and the carriage (4) of the part collector.

8. An arrangement (10) according to claim 7, wherein the part collector (1) is arranged under the portion of the machine (20), that the sheet-like material is to be placed on. 9. An arrangement (10) according to claim 7 or 8, wherein the cutting means comprise at least one of the following: laser cutting means and plasma cutting means.

10. A method for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like (3) material by a machine (20) comprising cutting means (21) for cutting parts (2) from said sheet like material, and

providing (30) a carriage (4) for collecting parts (2),

cutting (34) a part out from the sheet-like material by the machine, and

synchronizing (35) the movement of the carriage (4) for collecting the parts cut out from the sheet-like material with the work cycle of the machine,

c h a r a c t e r i z e d in that

the carriage (4) is transported between a waiting position outside a work area (27) of the cutting means (21), a collecting position wherein the carriage (4) is positioned under the part (2), but not under the cutting means (21), and an unloading position arranged outside the cutting area (26) of the machine (20).

11. A method according to claim 10, wherein the method further comprises

moving (36) the carriage (4) to the collecting position when the part (2) is cut except for the final cut detaching the part (2) from the sheet-like material (3). 12. A method according to claim 10 or 11, wherein the method further comprises

moving (33) the carriage (4) to the waiting position outside the work area (27) of the cutting means (21) before the part (2) to be collected is cut out from the sheet-like material.

13. A method according to any one of claims 10 to 12, wherein the method further comprises

moving (37) the carriage (4) to the unloading position when predetermined at least one part (2) has been collected to the carriage (4), and unloading (39) the part(s) collected on the carriage from the carriage for further handling.

14. A method according to claim 13, wherein the method further comprises

changing a position of a stopping element (9) of the carriage from a first stopping element position, in which the stopping element is arranged to prevent parts collected on a planar surface of the carriage from falling off the planar surface, to a second stopping element position, wherein the stopping element is arranged to unload part(s) collected on the planar surface off the planar surface, when the carriage has reached the unloading position.

15. A method according to any one of claims 10 to 14, wherein the part collector comprises a part collector according to one of the claims 1 to 5.

Description:
A PART COLLECTOR, AN ARRANGEMENT AND A METHOD FOR COLLECTING PARTS CUT FROM A SHEET- LIKE MATERIAL

BACKGROUND

The invention relates to collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material, and particularly to a part collector, an arrangement and a method for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material.

Parts cut from sheet-like materials are used for a large variety of purposes. For instance, laser cutting with laser cutting machines enables cutting both the edges of each part and details, such as holes of different shapes, inside the part to be cut. ln the known solutions, small pieces of scrap material, such as material cut to provide the holes, may fall under the cutting machine and moved to a scrap collecting point by a conveyor or other moving means. However, the methods used for collecting scrap material might scratch or otherwise damage the parts produced lt is also known to use gripping means for detaching cut out parts from the sheet-like material and moving them to a collecting position. However, this usually means that small parts are left attached to the sheet/plate by micro-joints to avoid them dropping down to a scrap box. This means that disconnecting them from the plate requires an additional work phase.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

An object of the present invention is to provide a new method and an apparatus for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material. The objects of the invention are achieved by a method and an arrangement which are characterized by what is stated in the independent claims. Preferred embodiments of the invention are disclosed in the dependent claims.

The invention is based on the idea of providing a part collector for receiving parts cut out from a sheet-like material by a machine for cutting such parts and the part collector being movable with respect to the machine.

An advantage of the method and arrangement is that the part collector can be moved to a position suitable for each work phase, such as for cutting details inside the parts, cutting the edge of the part except for the final cut detaching the part from the sheet of material, cutting the final cut detaching the part, and moving one or several parts away from the machine for unloading from the part collector. BR1EF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAW1NGS

ln the following the invention will be described in greater detail by means of preferred embodiments with reference to the attached drawings, in which

Figure 1 illustrates schematically a part collector, a detail of cutting means of a machine for cutting parts from a sheet-like material, a sheet-like material and a part;

Figure 2 illustrates schematically a larger view of a part collector, a detail a machine for cutting parts from a sheet-like material, and a sheet-like material;

Figure 3 illustrates a method for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material by a machine;

Figure 4 illustrates schematically a detail of a part collector, a detail of cutting means of a machine for cutting parts from a sheet-like material, a sheet like material and a part;

Figures 5 and 6 illustrate schematically mutual positions of a part to be cut from a sheet-like material and a carriage, the carriage being in a waiting position;

Figure 7 illustrates schematically mutual positions of a part to be cut from a sheet-like material and a carriage, the carriage being in a collecting position;

Figure 8 illustrates schematically mutual positions of a part to be cut from a sheet-like material and a carriage, the carriage being in an unloading position;

Figures 9, 10, 11 and 12 illustrate situations of Figures 5, 6, 7 and 8, respectively, seen from the top and illustrating a sheet-like material to be cut by a machine, a cutting area of the machine and a work area of the machine;

Figures 13a and 13b illustrate a detail marked by reference C in Figure 2 showing a stopping element of a part collector and a counter member;

Figure 14 illustrates a nesting example for parts to be cut from a sheet like material;

Figure 15 illustrates a detail marked by reference A in Figure 1 showing a threshold in an upper part of a part collector; and Figures 16a and 16b illustrate details marked by reference B in Figure 1 illustrating two different embodiments of a function of the stopping element.

The figures are for illustrative purposes only and are not provided in scale.

DETA1LED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBOD1MENTS

Figure 1 illustrates schematically a part collector 1, a detail of cutting means of a machine 20 for cutting parts 2 from a sheet-like material 3, a sheet like material and a part. Figure 2 illustrates schematically a larger view of a part collector, a detail a machine for cutting parts from a sheet-like material, and a sheet-like material.

A part collector 1 of Figure 1 is suitable for a machine 20 for cutting parts 2 from a sheet-like material 3. The machine 20 may comprise a laser-cutting machine, a plasma-cutting machine or any other machine suitable for cutting parts from a sheet-like material.

The sheet-like material 3 refers to materials provided in a substantially flat form, such as plates, panels or sheets ln other words, the sheet like material 3 typically has a large surface area and a substantially uniform thickness. The thickness, or the height of the sheet-like material, is smaller when compared to the length and width of the sheet-like material. Typically, the length and the width are more than 10 times larger than the thickness/height of the sheet-like material 3. Preferably the length and the width if the sheet-like material are at least 20 times larger than the thickness/height of the sheet-like material. According to an embodiment, the thickness of the sheet-like material 3 is in the range of 0,3 - 25,0 mm. According to an embodiment, the width of the sheet-like material 3 is in the range of 500 - 3000 mm. According to an embodiment, the length of the sheet-like material is in the range of 500 - 6000 mm.

According to another embodiment, the sheet-like material may comprise a surface structure or surface profile ln other words, in such an embodiment, the thickness of the sheet-like material does not have to be exactly uniform over the whole surface of the sheet-like material 3. However, also in such an embodiment, the length and the width of the sheet-like material 3 are at least 10 times larger, and preferably at least 20 time larger, than the greatest thickness of the sheet-like material 3. According to still another embodiment, the sheet-like material may comprise metal, plastic and/or wood, or another material suitable for laser cutting, plasma cutting or other similar cutting method. Such machines are known in the art and are not discussed in more detail.

The sheet-like material 3 may be placed on a cutting table 22. The cutting table 22 may be arranged under the machine 20. According to an embodiment, the cutting table 22 may comprise support bars 23 for supporting the sheet-like material 3 during cutting. The support bars 23 may extend in the transverse direction of the cutting table 22, as best seen in Figures 9 to 12. According to an embodiment, two or more consecutive support bars 23 may be provided in each case at a distance D, as shown in Figure 9, of at least 150 mm from one another in the longitudinal direction of the cutting table, which is perpendicular to the transverse direction of the cutting table. Preferably, two or more consecutive support bars 23 may be provided in each case at a distance of at least 200 mm, and most preferably at least 300 mm, from one another in the longitudinal direction of the cutting table. This may be beneficial, as it may enable dropping parts 2 of smaller dimensions cut by the machine to the part collector 1 positioned beneath the cutting table 22.

According to an embodiment, two or more consecutive support bars 23 may be provided in each case at a distance D of at most 650 mm, preferably at most 600 mm, and most preferably at most 550 mm, from one another in the longitudinal direction of the cutting table. This may be beneficial, as it may provide a good support for the sheet-like material 3 during cutting.

According to an embodiment, two or more consecutive support bars 23 may be provided in each case at a distance D in the range of 150 mm to 600 mm from one another in the longitudinal direction of the cutting table, which is perpendicular to the transverse direction of the cutting table. A shorter distance may be beneficial in connection with thinner sheet-like materials to provide sufficient support, while longer distance enables cutting and dropping of larger pieces to the part collector 1. The distance range of 150 mm to 600 mm is suitable for most purposes and sheets/plates.

The part collector 1 comprises a carriage 4 for collecting the parts 2 cut by the machine 20. ln other words, the carriage 4 may be arrangeable to collect parts 2 that are cut out from the sheet-like material 3. The carriage 4 comprises an essentially planar surface 5 for receiving the parts 2. ln other words, the planar surface 5 may be arrangeable to receive at least one part 2 cut out of a sheet-like material 3. Hereby said planar surface forms an upper side of the carriage.

The carriage 4 further comprises a frame 6. Depending on the embodiment, the frame 6 and the planar surface 5 may be provided as separate structural parts or as one uniform structural part.

The carriage 4 further comprises at least one moving element 7 enabling a movement of the carriage 4. ln other words, the moving element 7 may enable moving of the carriage 4 between different positions of the carriage 4. The at least one moving element 7 may comprise a glide, a wheel, a roller or other moving means. According to an embodiment, the bottom of the carriage 4 comprises four corners, whereby at least one moving element is provided in each one of these bottom corners. The moving element 7, such as the glide, wheel, roller or similar, is preferably connected to the frame. According to an embodiment, the moving element 7 is mounted rotatably to the frame 6.

According to an embodiment, the part collector 1 may further comprise at least one guiding element 8. The at least one moving element 7 of the carriage 4 may be arranged to connect with the guiding element 8 in such a manner that the guiding element 8 guides the movement of the carriage 4. ln other words, the guiding element 8 may be arranged to enable the movement of the carriage 4 in at least one direction and to prevent the movement of the carriage 4 in at least one direction perpendicular to the direction in which the movement is enabled. According to an embodiment, the guiding element 8 may comprise a rail. According to an embodiment, the part collector 1 comprises at least two guiding elements 8. According to an embodiment, the guiding elements 8 are provided parallel to one another.

According to an embodiment, the planar surface 5 may have a horizontal position ln the horizontal position, the planar surface 5 is thus, arranged in a direction parallel with the horizontal direction. According to an embodiment, the planar surface 5 may be, in its horizontal position, arranged in a position parallel the direction of the surface of the sheet-like material 3.

According to an embodiment, the planar surface 5 may have an angled position, wherein the planar surface has an angle in the range of 0 to 80 degrees, preferably in the range of 0 to 50 degrees and most preferably in the range of 5 to 30 degrees compared to a horizontal plane. According to an embodiment, the planar surface 5 may be tilted, in the angled position, towards the end 25 of the planar surface 5 facing towards an unloading position of the parts 2. The end of the planar surface 5 facing towards an unloading position of the parts 2 refers to the end of the planar surface 5 that is the first end of the planar surface in the direction of a movement of the carriage 4 towards an unloading position of the carriage 4. ln other words, the planar surface 5 may be tilted, in the angled position, in such a manner that the end of the planar surface 5 facing towards an unloading position of the parts 2 is at a lower position than the opposite end of the planar surface 5 facing away from the unloading position. An example of such an embodiment is shown in the Figures 1, 2 and 4, respectively.

According to an embodiment, the planar surface 5 may only comprise one position, the horizontal position or the angled position, and the planar surface may be fixed to that position. According to another embodiment, the position of the planar surface 5 may be altered between the horizontal position and the angled position. According to an embodiment, for instance, the planar surface 5 may be arranged in a horizontal position for receiving the parts 2, and/or the planar surface 5 may be arranged in the angled position to unload the one or more parts 2 collected on the carriage 4.

According to an embodiment, the carriage 4 may comprise a stopping element 9. The stopping element 9 may be arranged at the end 25 of the planar surface 5. According to an embodiment, the stopping element 9 may be provided at the end of the planar surface 5 facing towards an unloading position of the parts 2. ln other words, the stopping element 9 may be provided at the end 25 of the planar surface 5 that is the first end of the planar surface in the direction of a movement of the carriage 4 towards an unloading position of the carriage 4.

According to an embodiment, the part collector 1 may comprise a driving element 28, such as a motor, for driving the carriage 4. According to an embodiment, the part collector 1 may comprise a transmitting element 29, such as a chain or a belt, transmitting a force to the carriage 4 to enable moving of the carriage 4. According to an embodiment, the force may be provided by the driving element 28 and it may be transmitted to the carriage 4 by the transmitting element 29.

Figures 13a and 13b illustrate a detail marked by reference C in Figure 2 showing an embodiment of a stopping element 9 the carriage 4, as well as a counter member 17.

According to an embodiment, the stopping element 9 may have a first stopping element position, as illustrated in Figure 13a. ln this position, the stopping element 9 is arranged at an angle in the range of 40-130 degrees relative to the planar surface 5 to prevent part(s) 2 collected on the planar surface from falling off the planar surface. The stopping element 9 is also shown in such a first stopping element position in Figures 1 and 4. According to an embodiment, the stopping element 9 may have a second stopping element position, as illustrated in Figure 13b. ln this position, the stopping element 9 is arranged at an angle greater than 130 degrees, preferably 180 degrees, compared to the planar surface 5 to unload part(s) 2 collected on the planar surface 5 off the planar surface. The stopping element 9 is also shown in such a second stopping element position in Figure 2.

According to an embodiment, the stopping element 9 may be arranged pivotally with respect to the planar surface 5. The stopping element 9, or a part of the stopping element 9, may for instance be attached to the planar surface 5, especially to the end 25 thereof, by means of a joint 13, such as a pivot pin, a hinge or another type of an articulation joint. According to an embodiment, the joint 13 may be arranged to enable the change of the stopping element 9 or a part of the stopping element 9 between the first stopping element position and the second stopping element position. Also, see Figure 16a.

According to an embodiment, the stopping element 9 may comprise a stopper plate or shutter plate 14. The stopper plate 14 may be provided in the first stopping element position and/or the second stopping element position as illustrated in Figures 13a and 13b respectively. According to an embodiment, the position of the stopper plate 14 may be changeable between the first stopping element position and/or the second stopping element position. According to an embodiment, the upper surface 15 of the stopper plate 14 may be arranged in the first stopping element position at an angle in the range of 40-130 degrees relative to the planar surface 5 to prevent part(s) 2 collected on the planar surface from falling off the planar surface. According to an embodiment, the upper surface 15 of the stopper plate 14 may be arranged in the second stopping element position at an angle greater than 130 degrees, preferably at an angle greater than 170 degrees, compared to the planar surface 5 to unload part(s) 2 collected on the planar surface 5 off the planar surface.

According to an embodiment, such as the embodiment of Figures 13a and 13 b, the stopping element 9 may further comprise a secondary plate 16 arranged fixedly at an angle with respect to the stopper plate 14. The stopper plate 14 and the secondary plate 16 may be arranged to pivot together about the joint 13. The angle between the upper surface 15 of the stopper plate 14 and the planar surface 5 in the first stopping element position may thus be different from the second stopping element position, while the angle between the stopper plate 14 and the secondary plate 16 remains the same in both the stopping element positions ln such an embodiment, when the carriage 4 has reached the end of the guiding element 8, the secondary plate 16 may arranged to be affected by a counter member 17, whereby the stopping element 9 may be tilted to the second stopping element position. The counter member 17 may comprise a plate, a pipe, a roll or any other kind of a surface capable of pivoting the stopping element 9 about the joint 13. According to an embodiment, a gap 18 may be arranged between the guiding element 8 and the counter member 17 in such a manner that the counter member 17 may pivot the secondary plate 16 into the gap 18. The stopper plate 14 may be arranged against a discharging surface 19 in the second stopping element position. The discharging surface 19 may be provided as a part of the part collector, as a part of a collecting container, collecting conveyor 24 or other kind of collecting means for the cutting parts, or as a separate structural part.

According to another embodiment, the stopping element 9 may further comprise a support surface arranged against the guiding element or a surface parallel to the top surface of the guiding element 8. ln such an embodiment, when the carriage 4 has reached the end of the guiding element 8, the support surface no longer rests against the guiding element 8 or the surface parallel to the top surface of the guiding element, and the stopping element is thereby tilted to the second stopping element position. According to a further embodiment, the switching between the first stopping element position and the second stopping element position is controlled in another manner, such as controlled by a control element 11 of the part collector and/or by a control unit 12 of an arrangement 10 for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material 3.

According to still another embodiment, such as the embodiment of Figure 16b, the stopping element 9 may further comprise an actuator 40 regulating the position of the stopping element 9 between the first stopping element position and the second stopping element position. Hereby the angle between the upper surface 15 of the stopper plate 14 and the planar surface 5 remains essentially the same in both the stopping element positions ln such an embodiment, when the carriage 4 has reached the end of the guiding element 8, the stopper plate 14 may arranged to be affected by an actuator 40, whereby the stopper plate may be withdrawn to the second stopping element position enabling the part(s) 2 collected on the planar surface 5 to unload off the planar surface. The actuator may comprise a hydraulic or a pneumatic cylinder, for instance. According to this embodiment, a gap 18 may be arranged between the guiding element 8 and the discharging surface 19 in such a manner that the stopper plate 14 may move in this gap 18. The discharging surface 19 may be provided as a part of the part collector, as a part of a collecting container, collecting conveyor 24 or other kind of collecting means for the cutting parts, or as a separate structural part.

According to an embodiment, the part collector 1 may comprise a control element 11. The control element 11 may be arranged to control at least one of the following: a position of the carriage 4, a position of the planar surface 5, and a position of the stopping element 9. According to an embodiment, the control element 11 may be a part of the part collector 1.

According to another embodiment, the control element 11 may comprise a control unit 12 of an arrangement 10 for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material, for example. According to an embodiment, the control unit 12 of the arrangement 10 may comprise an integrated CNC control at the machine 20, such as a laser cutting machine, or a separate own control synchronized with the control of the machine 20. The control element 11 and/or the control unit 12 may comprise a programmable logic and/or a programmable microprocessor, for example. The control element 11 and/or the control unit 12 may be provided as an integral part of the part collector 1 and/or the arrangement 10 or it may be provided as a separate structural part connected to the part collector 1 and/or the arrangement 10 wirelessly or by a wired connection.

According to an aspect, a part collector 1 as described in this description may be used in a method for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material by a machine 20, such as a cutting machine. According to an embodiment, the part collector 1 may be arranged under the machine 20 for collecting the parts 2 cut out of a sheet-like material 3.

An arrangement 10 may be provided for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material 3. The arrangement 10 may comprise a machine 20 for cutting parts 2 from a sheet-like material 3. The machine 20 may comprise a cutting machine, such as a laser-cutting machine, a plasma-cutting machine or the like. The machine 20 comprises cutting means 21 for cutting parts 2 from the sheet- like material 3. According to an embodiment, the cutting means 21 may comprise a laser beam, a plasma torch and/or similar. The cutting means 21 may also comprise equipment and structures for providing the laser beam, the plasma torch or similar. Such cutting means 21 are known as such and are therefore not disclosed in more detail.

The arrangement 10 may also comprise a part collector 1 according to an embodiment described in this description. The arrangement 10 may further comprise a control unit 12. The control unit 12 may be arranged to control the positions of the cutting means 21 and/or the carriage 4 of the part collector 1. According to an embodiment, the control unit 12 may comprise the control element 11. ln other words, the same control unit 12 or control element 11 may be used to control at least some of the functions of the part collector 1 and at least some of the functions of the machine 20. According to another embodiment, the control of at least some or all of the functions of the part collector 1 and/or at least some or all of the functions of the machine 20 may be distributed to another control element, such as a separate own control element synchronized with the control of the laser.

According to an embodiment, the control unit 12 and/or the control element 11 may be arranged to control at least one of the following: a position of the cutting means 21, the functioning of the cutting means 21, a position of the carriage 4, a position of the planar surface 5, a position of the stopping element 9, a movement of the carriage 4, and unloading of the part(s) 2. The control unit 12 and/or the control element 11 may further be arranged to control other functionalities of the arrangement 10 as well.

According to an embodiment, the part collector 1 may be arranged under the portion of the machine 20, that the sheet-like material is to be placed on. More particularly, the carriage 4 of the part collector 1 may be arranged under the cutting area 26 of the machine 20. The part collector 1 may, thus, be provided under a machine 20 for collecting parts 2 cut out of a sheet-like material 3 by the machine 20. The width of the carriage 4 of the part collector 1, as well as the planar surface 5 thereof, may in the direction transverse to the direction of movement of the carriage 4 be equal to or larger than the width of the cutting area 26 of the machine 20 in the same direction ln other words, the planar surface 5 of the carriage 4 may be enabled to collect parts 2 over the whole cutting area width of the machine. Similarly, the movement range of the carriage 4 may be arranged in such a manner in the direction of movement of the carriage 4 that the carriage 4 is arrangeable to collect parts 2 over the whole length of the cutting area of the machine 20. The length of the cutting area of the machine hereby referring to the dimension of the cutting area of the machine 20 transverse to the width of the cutting area. Thereby, the part collector 1 may be arranged to collect parts 2 cut out of a sheet-like material over the whole cutting area of the machine 20.

According to an embodiment, the cutting means comprise at least one of the following: laser cutting means and plasma cutting means. The laser cutting means may comprise a laser beam, for example. The plasma cutting means may comprise a plasma torch, for example.

Figure 3 illustrates a method for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material by a machine 20. Figures 5 and 6 illustrate schematically mutual positions of a part 2 to be cut from a sheet-like material and a carriage 4, the carriage being in a waiting position. Figure 7 illustrates schematically mutual positions of a part 2 to be cut from a sheet-like material and a carriage 4, the carriage being in a collecting position. Figure 8 illustrates schematically mutual positions of a part 2 to be cut from a sheet-like material and a carriage 4, the carriage being in an unloading position ln Figures 5, 6, 7 and 8 the machine 20, the sheet-like material 3 and the carriage 4 of the part collector 1 are shown from in a side view. Below figures 5, 6 and 7 there are shown a part 2, the carriage 4 in a partial view and their mutual positions as seen from the top in the waiting position and the collecting position are shown to better illustrate the solution. An illustrative example of the cuts of the part 2 already cut at such moment is shown by a thicker line, while the cuts still to be cut are shown by a thinner line.

A method for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material by a machine 20 comprises providing 30 a carriage 4 for collecting parts 2, cutting 34 a part out from the sheet-like material by the machine 20, and synchronizing 35 the movement of the carriage 4 for collecting the parts cut out from the sheet-like material with the work cycle of the machine. The work cycle refers to work phases of the machine 20 done in a certain sequence, such as moving cutting means 21 of the machine 20, cutting out details inside the parts 2 to be cut, cutting the edges of the part to be cut except for the final cut detaching the part from the sheet-like material, the cutting means 21 being in an idle phase and/or other work phases of a cutting machine known as such. By synchronizing the movement of the carriage 4 with the work cycle of the machine the carriage 4 can be controlled to move into a suitable position in each work phase in such a manner, that the carriage 4 does not limit the use of the cutting means 21 of the machine and, on the other hand, the collecting of the parts can be done efficiently. According to an embodiment, the parts 2 may be cut out from the sheet-like material 3 one at a time ln other words, the internal details of a part 2, as shown in Figures 5 and 9, may be cut first and then the part 2 is cut out from the sheet-like material 3. Figures 6 and 10 show how the part 2 can be cut first except for the final cut detaching it, and Figures 7 and 11 show how the final cut is made detaching the part 2. The part 2 may then be collected by a part collector 1 on a carriage 4 according to an embodiment of this description and/or accompanying figures. This may be beneficial, as it may increase the quality and dimensional accuracy of the parts 2. ln such embodiments, the carriage 4 may be provided in a waiting position during cutting of both the internal details, as seen in Figures 5 and 9, and the edges except for the final cut detaching the part 2 from the sheet-like material 3. This may be beneficial, as it increases the speed of the part collecting process, since the carriage 4 only needs to be moved for a short distance between the waiting position and the collecting position thereof. An example of the respective positions of a part 2 to be cut from a sheet-like material and a carriage in a waiting position is shown in Figures 5 and 6. The edges of the part 2 to be cut are shown with a thin line. Other illustrations of a waiting position seen from the top are shown in Figures 9 and 10.

According to another embodiment, internal details of two or more parts 2 may be cut first and the edges of the plurality of parts 2 detaching the parts from the sheet-like material 3 may be cut after that. This may be beneficial, as it may decrease the overall time for cutting a certain number of parts 2. ln such embodiments, the carriage 4 may further have a parking position. The parking position may be provided further from the work area 27 than the waiting position. The carriage 4 may then be provided in the parking position during the cutting of the internal details. The carriage 4 may be moved to the waiting position as the cutting of the edges is started. This may be beneficial, as the carriage 4 may be positioned in the parking position further away from the whole area inside of which the internal details are cut first, and then be moved to the waiting position closer to the work area 27, where the parts 2 are currently being cut out from the sheet-like material 3. Depending on the embodiment, the parking position may be the same as the unloading position or the parking position may be different from the unloading position.

According to an embodiment, the method for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material may comprise providing 31 the carriage 4 in a parking position (not shown) outside a work area 27 of a cutting means 21 of the machine. This may be beneficial in connection with embodiments, where the internal details of two or more parts 2 are cut first and then the parts are cut out from the sheet-like material 3. The parking position may be provided further away from the work area 27 than the waiting position.

ln this description, the work area 27 of cutting means 21 refers to the cutting area 26 and/or a part thereof, where the cutting means 21 are cutting during a current work phase or work cycle. According to an embodiment, the parking position may be arranged outside the whole cutting area 26 of the machine 20. According to an embodiment, the method for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material may comprise moving 33 the carriage 4 to a waiting position outside the work area 27 of the cutting means 21. This may take place before the part 2 to be collected is cut out from the sheet-like material. Cutting the part 2 out from the sheet-like material 3 refers to making the final cut detaching the part 2 from the sheet-like material. An example of respective positions of a part 2 partly cut from a sheet-like material, and a carriage 4 in a waiting position is shown in Figures 5 and 6. The edges of the part 2 still to be cut are shown with a thin line, and the part of the edges already cut are shown by a thick line. Another illustration of a waiting position seen from the top is shown in Figures 9 and 10. ln embodiments comprising a parking position, the waiting position may be provided closer to the work area compared to the parking position ln embodiments, in which the internal details of two or more parts 2 are cut before cutting any one of the parts out from the sheet-like material 3, the carriage 4 may be moved to the waiting position after internal details of the parts 2 have been cut.

The method for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material may comprise cutting 34 a part 2 out from the sheet-like material 3 by the machine 20 and moving 36 the carriage 4 to a collecting position, when the part is cut except for the final cut detaching the part 2 from the sheet-like material 3. ln the collecting position, the carriage 4 is positioned under the part 2, but not under the cutting means 21. Thereby, the cutting means 21 do not damage the carriage 4 while making the final cut detaching the part 2 from the sheet-like material 3, but the part 2 can still be collected on the planar surface 5 of the carriage 4 when the part 2 is detached from the sheet-like material 3 by the final cut. This is also illustrated by figure 15. An example of respective positions of a part 2 cut from a sheet-like material except for the final cut, and a carriage 4 in a collecting position is shown in Figure 7. The final cut still to be cut is shown with a thin line, and the part of the edges already cut is shown with a thick line. Another illustration of a collecting position seen from the top is shown in Figure 11.

As illustrated by Figure 15, the carriage 4 may comprise a threshold protruding from the planar surface 5. The protrusion may be 5 to 30 mm, depending on the size of the parts 2 to be cut by the machine 20. The benefits gained by such a threshold are of two kinds. Firstly, a part 2 falling down onto the planar surface 5 is more certain to tip on the surface directed by the enhanced angel between the part and the planar surface. Secondly, the threshold protects to planar surface as well as the part(s) thereon from the shielding air or gas used during cutting and soot spread by this air or gas during said cutting. A preferred protrusion h of the threshold from the planar surface 5 is 5 to 30 mm, preferably 5 to 10 mm.

As also illustrated by Figure 15, it is advantageous to leave a gap w between the threshold 41 and the laser beam, plasma torch and/or similar produced by the cutting means 21, when moving the carriage 4 to the collecting position. The size of such a gap is dependent on the size of the part 2 to be cut from the sheet-like material 3 by the final cut. A preferred size of the gap w is 10 to 50 mm, preferably 10 to 30 mm.

According to an embodiment, the method for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material may further comprise moving 37 the carriage 4 to an unloading position when predetermined at least one part has been collected to the carriage 4. Part(s) 2 to be collected on the carriage 4 before moving the carriage to the unloading position may be determined as a number of parts to be collected, positions of parts to be collected or as the specific parts to be collected. The determining of the parts to be collected before unloading the part(s) from the carriage may be done either manually from a user interface of the machine, or partly or completely automatically by a computer program product and/or the control unit 12 or the control element 11. An example of respective positions of a part 2 cut from a sheet-like material, and a carriage 4 in an unloading position is shown in Figure 8. Preferably, the unloading position is arranged outside the cutting area 26 of the machine 20. Another illustration of an unloading position seen from the top is shown in Figure 12.

As illustrated by Figure 2, unloading position is advantageously arranged in a downwards sloping area of the guiding elements 8. By furthermore tilting, the planar surface 5 carrying the part(s) 2 the angled position thereof is enhanced and unloading the one or more parts 2 collected on the carriage 4 is made even easier.

According to an embodiment, the method for collecting parts cut from a sheet-like material may further comprise unloading 39 the part(s) collected on the carriage 4 from the carriage for further handling. Preferably, this takes place once the carriage 4 is provided in the unloading position. According to an embodiment, the unloading may be implemented by unloading the part(s) collected onto a discharging surface 19 provided as a part of the part collector, as a part of a collecting container, collecting conveyor 24 or other kind of collecting means for the cutting parts, or as a separate structural part.

Figures 9, 10, 11 and 12 illustrate situations of Figures 5, 6, 7 and 8, respectively, seen from the top and illustrating a sheet-like material to be cut by a machine, a cutting area 26 of the machine and a work area 27 of the machine.

Figure 14 illustrates a nesting example for parts to be cut from a sheet like material. A cutting area 26 and a working area 27 are also shown in the figure lt is clear from Figure 14 that a large number of parts 2 of different shapes can be cut from one sheet-like material 3. The cutting area 26 is typically defined by the characteristics of the machine 20. The work area 27 can be determined by the end user or automatically by the control unit 12 or an external system to support the overall cutting and manufacturing process, for example. Thus, the work area 27 shown in Figures 9-12 and 14 is shown as an example only. The work area 27 may also be determined to cover the whole cutting area 26.

According to an embodiment, the method for collecting parts 2 cut from a sheet-like material 3 may further comprise changing a position of a stopping element 9 of the carriage from a first stopping element position, in which the stopping element is arranged to prevent parts collected on a planar surface of the carriage from falling off the planar surface, to a second stopping element position, wherein the stopping element is arranged to unload part(s) collected on the planar surface off the planar surface, when the carriage has reached the unloading position.

According to an embodiment, a part collector 1 and/or an arrangement 10 for collecting part cut from a sheet-like material may be arranged to implement at least one of the method steps disclosed in this description and accompanying figures.

According to an aspect, a computer program product can be provided for controlling collecting, by a part collector, parts cut from a sheet-like material. The computer program product can be in storage on a computer readable medium and capable of being executed with a processor, and the computer program product may comprise a computer readable program code. Such a computer program product can be arranged to carry out at least some of the steps of a method as presented above as the program code is being executed with a processor.

lt will be obvious to a person skilled in the art that, as the technology advances, the inventive concept can be implemented in various ways. The invention and its embodiments are not limited to the examples described above but may vary within the scope of the claims.