Answering the Call for Controls… T-PLUS!


2008-08-29
T-PLUS is the new logo under which TAI CHAN MACHINERY INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. is operating now. The company exhibited at INTERWOOD TAIPEI 2008, and occupying over thirty booths in one of the most conspicuous locations of the fairgrounds, T-PLUS left a lasting impression with hordes of procurement specialists. It was impossible to get in for an interview since all staff members were constantly dealing with buyers keen to place their orders. However, it was enough to see the machines in action and revel in the output of performance. On the Surface ****************** When one first looks at a T-PLUS machine, the initial impression is one of aesthetics. The design team combines hues of grey and purple with white as the base colors, with highlights of orange, light blue, red and gold placed randomly yet strategically throughout moving components. A serious motorist wouldn't buy a Lamborghini with a 1200cc four cylinder engine, and neither would a furniture manufacturer buy a flashy looking machine that can't perform. T-PLUS dares to clad its panel saws in such eye pleasing armor, because the machinery has the technical guts to perform even better than its exterior naturally claims it can. Built from the inside out, aesthetics are a tiny percentage of the R&D this company is dedicated to. Indefinite Solutions ********************** Although T-PLUS has been producing a wide variety of woodworking machinery for over thirty years from spindle shapers and routers to double end miter saws, what really caught our attention were their series of computer panel saws. Over the years, T-PLUS has sold over 50,000 units to countries all throughout Asia, as well as in Canada, the USA, Mexico and Colombia, with service centers in all areas to provide quick turnkey solutions. In fact, the company's pledge to all clients is to "provide quick comprehensive solutions indefinitely." Indeed, big names such as MOBILCLAN, LACQUER CRAFT, HINKO, DORIS, SAKURA are just a few of the companies that rely on T-PLUS panel saw technology for high quality, yield, accuracy and stability. Controls Exacerbate Costs ******************************* Several industry leaders at INTERWOOD commented on what they'd like to see happen in Taiwan's woodworking machinery industry. Compared worldwide, Taiwan has an excellent reputation for great quality at great prices. However, the price of CNC controls (which are predominantly imported from Japan or Europe) can make up a third to half the cost of a single machine! What Taiwan needs to do, they say, is to develop its own, highly dependable CNC software. Well, guess what T-PLUS is up to. That's correct, T-PLUS is pioneering its own software for CNC panel saws, and it seems very user friendly. The Controls *************** What we saw was a swiveling 19" touch-screen display suspended from an overhead adjustable arm. Nice for a 6'4"operator taking over a shift from one that stands four foot-nine. Just position the screen where it feels right, and get to work. These systems make life real easy when combining different materials and optimizing cut lists. All the math is calculated automatically, so all one has to do is specify the dimensions and "let her rip", as they say. Easy to hit buttons next to the screen allow for single or auto cycle batch runs, with emergency hold and restart buttons too. Speed regulators are in the form of a dial. Under the edit menu you have parameters for length, width, square cut, clamp pressure, sequencing and surplus material. The operation controls menu allows settings to be specified for saw blade lift and lowering, right/left traverse, left/right/back/forth squaring, cut points, jog feed advance and return, jaw clamping, front and back clamping as well as trouble release. Under monitoring, we have controls for saw up/down/advance/return, back and forth feed, back and front clamp up/down sensors, safety guard, square advance and retract, as well as front clamp safety settings. Under "Troubleshooting" the software provides automatic inspection of motor or inverter overload, saw up sensing, insufficient pressure, loosened tension, safety guard positioning, back square positioning, rear engine stop/on, back clamp positioning, feed brake safety, abnormal servo motor, feed advance safety or lubricant status. It sounds complicated because there are a lot of factors going on underneath that beautiful façade, but they are all necessary for performance, and when you are interacting with the controls, you find it all really quite easy. Ethernet compatibility allows you to operate the panel saw from the comfort of the office as well. Innovative Features ********************** Depending on the requirements of the end-user, T-PLUS offers too many panel saws to individually describe in one sitting, yet the features are easy to highlight. A four pillar leveling lift table powered by 5HP can load up to seven tons of loosely stacked material, and has ample rollers to support it all while aligning everything perfectly before clamping. The revolving fence system provides stable flatness for clamping and an auto linear detection system with German magnetic scale senses the stacked rise height. T-PLUS knows when to employ imported components, and this goes for linear guides and AC servo motors too. They also employ auto adjust side alignment with rubber cylinders to protect material edges, AC servo panel feed height, floating feed tables, piano key or swinging sectional dust guards, suspended grippers, and single saw carriage linear guide support for linear smoothness and accuracy which also reduces inertia dramatically. The scoring blade, which initializes the cut at a minimal depth to prevent tear-out can be manually tweaked at the control panel. Panel feed uses a 2KW Japanese AC servo for high efficiency and low backlash, with pneumatic clamps at the feed stop. Out feed tables come in varying numbers, for excellent support of the finished product, and easy operator access. Additionally, blade swap is fool proof and fast, with arbors that include locating pins, and lock-nuts secured with a hex-head T-bar. Not Just Wood ***************** It is inaccurate to limit panel saw technology by T-PLUS to the woodworking industry. Specialized materials including calcium silicate board, Acrylic, copper sheet, IC circuit board, and aluminum sheet are all workable. Even phenolic laminate sheet is applicable, for those manufacturing solar panels. Constantly thinking up and creating new solutions for new industry challenges, T-PLUS is one company to count on for years of productive and innovative partnership.
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