There are four robots in the plywood panel cutting system that Con-Vey Keystone of Roseburg is producing and assembling for a wood products company in the United Kingdom. The $2.5 million robotic solution package will feature robots that can be programmed to move and stack wood products.“It's pretty unique,” said Con-Vey President Dave Larecy of integrating robots with other machinery. “There are other robot integrators out there. Some companies have robots and some have conveyors (to move product along), but our niche is that we're the only one that can provide a complete solution or package.” Larecy said once the equipment is installed, “the automation will do twice as much as a six-person shift.”Ryan Champion, a project engineer at Roseburg Forest Products, said RFP has 13 robots that have been installed in its operation. “ They're valuable for their improved efficiency, for increased recovery of product (because of more precise grading through a vision system),” said Champion. “The robots don't need breaks, they don't need vacation, they just sit there and work and work and work. Basically, overall, the reason we put in robots is because we want to stay competitive in all we do.” The robots that Con-Vey is integrating into its equipment systems are actually made by Kawasaki Robotics of Wixom, Mich. Con-Vey buys the robots and then designs, builds and installs the end-of-the-arm tooling. The robots have vacuum (suction) systems for picking up wood and, when combined with a vision (camera) system, can grade wood products.Con-Vey designs and manufactures the robot stands that need to be heavy and strong enough to handle the motion of the arm. Safety fencing and safety interlocks are also part of the package. Safety interlocks will automatically stop the robot from working if the door in the fence is opened without first stopping the robot.Con-Vey engineers do all the programming of the robot so it works in synch with the rest of the equipment. The package being assembled for the United Kingdom company includes the saw to cut 4- by 8-foot wood panels into smaller sizes and the conveyors to carry the product along to the final station, where it is banded for shipping. The only human part of this process is the forklift driver who brings a unit of 4-by-8s to the robot and the forklift driver who transports the final banded product.