Keeping Tally of Moulding Runs

Moulding manufacturers discuss efficient systems to keep track of moulding production (including tracking defective and rejected pieces). September 3, 2005

We run four low speed moulders and two high speed moulders at our plant. A piece tally is kept on every run at the low speed moulders, but at high speed this is very hard to do with the limited manpower. We run a lot of mixed lengths and do a lot of defecting, so it is usually difficult to do a good estimate on what is really in the bundle. In the past we have had dial counters on the machines, but found them to not be very accurate. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor P:
You answered your own question. Get an accurate dial counter.

From the original questioner:
Dial counters, even if completely accurate, only count what goes through the moulder. I want to know what is in each finished bundle. On some runs, nearly every piece will be defected. Unless you take the time to measure each piece you defect, then you are still just guessing.

From contributor S:
If you're mainly concerned with tallying the bundles that need to be defected, I'd tell you to mark off your table at the defect saw so the operator can easily see the measurement without pulling a tape. Either he or the off-bearer can then run a tally sheet. I have also seen automated systems for this, but laser eyes and transfer belts are more expensive than a magic marker.

From the original questioner:
You have sparked my interest with the automated system. On our moulders, we don't really have tables that you can mark off. We have Woodstorm infeeds and outfeeds at these machines that are really just chains, rather than tables. I would like to hear more about the system you have seen. I have seen something like that myself but it would take up much more space than we have to use. Maybe what you've seen was a little more practical?

From contributor D:
With a molder running at 30 fpm, we defected (up cut saw) and tallied using a "tally-o-meter" of our own make. It was merely a bunch of counters (from Grainger) set up on a board, each counter labeled 4', 5', 6', 7', etc. As the piece was defected, it was on a table with the lengths clearly marked, and the appropriate counter was tapped by finger. At the end of the run, we had an accurate tally that was recorded on the work order, and the counters were zeroed. This prevented the "find the tape, extend the tape, measure the piece, retract the tape, find the pencil, get the right end, grab the paper, write it down, lose the pencil, drop the paper, repeat" dance all day long.

The off bearer had no trouble keeping up with the molder, and still had 50% of his time for stacking, wrapping, cart control, etc. At higher feed rates, things could get hairy.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the input. I can tell you know exactly what kind of a problem I am dealing with. I think your method sounds like it would work for high speed if it was done right. You've given me something I think I can work with.

From contributor S:
Sorry that I didn't make myself clear on this. The automated system I mentioned was at a purpose-built defect and packing station. Basically, after the piece of moulding was defected, it was passed onto a moving belt. At some point on the belt, the leading edge would break the plane of a "curtain" style laser, and signal an encoder to mark off the belt travel until the trailing edge passed the curtain.