IMTS Sneak Peek: Automation Cell for a High Mix of Parts
David Fischer 07.20.2016
When we think of automation, we tend to think it’s only applicable for high-volume production runs of one particular part. But what if you want to run unattended with a high mix of parts? The sticking point is the changeovers, which typically need to be done manually. But now we have a new automation cell that removes this roadblock by using a robot to change the chuck jaws. At IMTS 2016 we’ll be demonstrating this new automation cell that was created with the help of Kitagawa, FANUC and Gosiger Automation. We’ll be showing this new technology on a MULTUS B300II along with a FANUC robot.
Complete Game Changer
Kitagawa came out with their quick change palletized chuck, which is a complete game changer. Normally, when you do a quick change, you change each of the three jaws manually. For this new chuck, you just pop the whole pallet off and the jaws are on that pallet and then you put another one on. We took it a step further by adding a robot. We also have a modular drawer storage system where we store the raw materials and the pallets for the chuck for different workpieces we’re going to run. The robot will change out, based on what part you tell it to make. It will look to see if it has the right jaws in the machine, and if it doesn’t, it will pull off the incorrect pallet and put the correct pallet on, which means you have the right jaws, and then it will go back and it will load the correct piece of raw material, and then tell the machine which program to run.
Automation – Not Just for High Volume Production Anymore
With this new automation cell, the operator can set up the machine to run two of Part A, make four of Part B, make one of Part C, and make six of Part D. As long as you have the pallet and the raw material set up for these parts, it’s all automatic. Usually, if you’re going to run unattended, you would have a very large lot size of parts because the changeovers are manual. What we’ve done is automate the changeovers, so a customer can have a high mix of parts and just let the machine run unattended for a long period of time. This is significant because it means automation is not just for high volume production anymore.
You can see a preview of the demo in this quick video, but for a closer look, stop by at Okuma’s IMTS booth S-8500 and I’ll give you a personal tour. This cell significantly reduces the time and labor associated with part-to-part changeovers, so it’s definitely worth a look.
David Fischer is Lathe Product Specialist, Okuma America Corporation.
MORE: Add Okuma Booth S-8500 to your MyShow Planner at IMTS.com.