ASTES4 Automation

ASTES4SORT (A4SORT) is a worldwide patented “Intelligent FMS” (Flexible Manufacturing System) specifically designed for sorting. A4SORT is able to sort, move and stack cut parts of any shape, placing and kitting them for further use. It can also accommodate the sorting of single-cut parts generated by 2D cutting machines, as well as sheet metal up to 20mm in thickness, and 8000mm in length.


A4SORT seamlessly integrates with the manufacturing process of different application fields. It is especially suited for laser-cutting systems that require flexibility in parts shapes and material thickness, or an increasing number of installations.

A4SORT can be docked to new and/or already-existing cutting systems. Due to its modularity, A4SORT can be easily installed in already-operative production sites. A4SORT effortlessly interfaces with automatic warehouses where sheet-metal plates and cut-parts pallets can be positioned via the “Intelligent FMS’ (Flexible Manufacturing Systems)” logic.

The modularity of ASTES4SORT can be exploited to design a system that can be implemented with automatic warehouses in subsequent steps, with the advantage of allowing controlled investment steps.

A4SORT consists of 4 cartesian grippers mounted on a mechanical double-gantry structure. One pair of grippers is mounted on each gantry. A4SORT is equipped with machine software capable of controlling the 4 grippers, the tool magazine, and all system functions effectively. This mechanical solution, comparable to a cartesian robot with 4 self-configuring gripping units, enables the system to adapt to the available space and application requirements. The selection of a tool (or tools) for the items pick-up point and place point in the storage area is fully automated, with the option to modify them according to specific manufacturing requirements, using simple management SW HMI’s.

The gripping tools are simple and provide the operational flexibility required to unload and easily stack the widest range of items, solving the greatest limitation of common automation systems. Depending on the size of the items and the speed of the workflow, the system chooses how many grippers to use.

A4SORT can be interfaced and integrated with all systems and brands of cutting machines and warehouses, whether newly installed or existing.

A4SORT captures files in the standard formats (e.g. ISO, DXF, DWG etc) generated by CAD-CAM systems.

A4SORT does not require the use of a programmer and is run by user-friendly software.

  • It is possible to combine the most diverse types and quantities of items, materials, customer orders, kits and more in a single job list
  • The CAD-CAM optimises nesting independently, improving its performance in making the best use of the materials to be cut
  • A4SORT undertakes the organised storage of each work piece and the residual waste, complying with the subdivision logic established in the job list

A4SORT optimises manufacturing efficiency:

  • Maximum productivity in the manufacturing process by eliminating cutting machine waiting times
  • Elimination of labour costs normally allocated to the handling and manufacturing of cut parts and waste
  • Elimination of sorting mistakes, excluding the possibility of merging of parts belonging to different customers or subsequent working activities
  • Intelligent order and materials management, consistently reducing scrap quantities and obtaining maximum cutting-machine performance
  • Less manoeuvring space for service vehicles

A4SORT manages scrap. The cut items are completely separated from the waste (cut without micro-joints) and the whole scrap frame is unloaded with comb forks or adequately split up into pieces, and unloaded into a crate. Materials intended for recycling can be separated by type automatically.

A4SORT is the only system that can also use magnetic tools in addition to the traditional suction cups. The different magnets used by A4SORT can lift up very thick metal sheets (over 50 mm thick), with a great number of holes, complex shapes and long narrow strips.

Lower energy consumption:

  • Kinetic energy recovery
  • Low compressed air consumption as a result of tailored usage
  • The speed of the loading and unloading cycle can automatically adapt to the speed of the cutting process, minimising energy consumption

A4SORT is capable of an unmanned operation. This means that the cutting program can be regulated over 3 work shifts, with a clear financial benefit from increased manufacturing capacity and the consequent gain in competitiveness.

A4SORT ensures on-time delivery to the customer due to reliable manufacturing timescales, which are not affected by the workforce human factor.