Transfer machines come in three main types, including:

Rotary: These fully automatic heat transfer printing machine move workpieces between stations in a circular path. Mass manufacturing within a small footprint makes these systems an economical solution. Modern CNC-enabled flexible transfer machines of this type gained popularity in European and North American domestic manufacturing facilities given the lower labor costs.

In-line or linear: Workpieces follow a linear path from one workstation to the other. The number of axes a machine operates on, combined with the number of machining stations, determines the quantity and type of parts and processes the machine can perform.

Trunnion: Parts are indexed around a horizontal shaft, known as the trunnion. The rotary movement of the parts is similar to the motion of a Ferris wheel. Cutting tools engage the parts at respective stations at the same time, allowing each index to deliver a completed part. The number of machining units depends on the size of the machine.

CNC-enabled trunnions with the flexibility to adjust their tooling eliminate the need to perform secondary operations, as well as associated tooling and labor. Newer trunnion transfer devices are capable of axially processing a workpiece at each end. They can be configured using supplementary tooling units, vertical or angular, resulting in a five-sided contact with the part during the machining process.

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