Batch Stops

Batch Stops

Batch stop functionality is an important tool for trim shops that use long folders. Some parts require several handling operations in order to produce them, but many operators have discovered that when the part is very long, the difficult handling operations make more sense to perform with several parts at one time. For example, many folding machine operators have found that they can partially produce a batch of parts and stack them on a cart, then perform one handling operation to the whole cart of parts (rotating from end to end is a good example), then continue folding the stack of parts from there. This can save a significant amount of time, as well as help prevent damage to parts that would have been individually rotated.

With Pathfinder, the operator can group together a series of steps that can be repeated over and over until a preset counter has been reached or the operator manually stops it. At that point, the operator can perform the handling operation with the entire stack of partially produced parts. Once the handling operation is completed, Pathfinder will pick up right where it left off, and the rest of the operations can be finished. The controller is flexible enough to allow the operator to start at any point in the program at any time. If there is a need for multiple batch stops in a part program, Pathfinder can accommodate that as well. Each step of the way, the operator is guided through the process.

Adding a Batch Stop to a Program

For both graphical and non-graphical profiles, any machine operation representing a normal bend, hem or radius forming operation can be designated as a batch stop. Simply select the operation you’d like to mark and check the check box for the Batch Stop.

The selected operation will be the last one performed for the batch until all profiles are completed or the Batch Stop is removed.

It is easy to see at a glance which operation or operations are designated as Batch Stops. The small Machine Operation number in the left hand corner will be red if that operation is a Batch Stop, as seen below.

Batch Stop Enabled

Note: More than one machine operation can be designated as a batch stop in a single profile.

Using Batch Stops in the Automatic Mode

While running a profile on the machine that contains one or more batch stop machine operations, Pathfinder’s view pane will indicate which sub-section of the program is currently active by graying out the inactive machine operations as shown in the example below. The batch stop operation number is highlighted in red.

Batch Stop During Automatic Mode

In this example, once the motion controller completes machine operation #5, it immediately returns to operation #1 to allow the operator to repeat the top section of operations for several profiles. If Pathfinder is in Count Down Mode, once the top section of operations has been repeated for the set number of iterations, Pathfinder asks the operator if he’d like to continue running the next section. At this point, the operator would flip the entire stack of partially formed profiles and be ready to run the bottom section of machine operations to complete each profile. If Pathfinder is in Count Up Mode, the operation will not be prompted to move on to the next step. Always remember to use Count Down Mode when using Batch Stops.