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Northwood Machine Manufacturing Co. Smart Tool System

July 1, 2007
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According to Northwood, homebuilders and stone fabricators are seeing a steady increase in consumer demand for more countertop profile options. The problem that this poses for stone fabricators is that when exchanging one set of tools for another, the wrong set of tools can be placed, and tool information may not be updated properly. The results of such mistakes can include damaged tools, damaged stone and/or machine down time.
The Northwood 138-EDS and 158-EDS are equipped with standard 30-position tool storage racks, which provide the fabricator with storage space for four complete standard tool profiles (bullnose, ogee, pencil edge or seam) as well as finger bits, core bits, a calibrating wheel and a Z50 wheel.
With STS, Northwood’s stone routers offer:

• Infinite tools and profile set options
• Quick and simple tool changes and job set-ups
• Secure and efficient storage of tooling investments
• Reduced chances of crashing the machine when swapping tools during processing
• Eliminates possibility of cutting the wrong edge onto a countertop

The STS system includes detachable racks or carousels that can be stored offline in a stand or cart, with each rack representing a tool profile set and containing an automatic means for home tool position recognition and automatic profile set identification. STS provides offline tool setup and reduces the need for tool storage space at the machine. STS also provides a substantially increased number of tool positions over traditional rack or chain systems because an unlimited number of profiles are possible per machining cycle, the company reports.
In addition to the mechanical advantages, the STS system also includes software that provides automatic storage and retrieval of tool set information and displays individual tool and/or tool set parameters relative to the corresponding carousel or rack. STS offers seamless integration with tool measurement means and/or digitizing for tool identification, drawing, adjusting for wear and/or matching tool profile geometries and for automatically applying various operational parameters.

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