Bar feeders are extremely effective in keeping a lathe stocked with material so the machine can run unattended for long stretches of time. What shops must also consider is how to handle a large volume of parts produced during the evening or over the weekend while preventing them from damage.
Royal Products (Hauppauge, New York) faced that challenge. The manufacturer of tooling and workholding products wanted to turn some of its live center and other products during off-hours, but needed a way to collect completed parts without allowing them to harshly contact each other and nick their surface finishes. So the company developed a stand-alone turntable device that receives completed components from a lathe’s parts catcher and uses a spiral guide to gently move parts toward the center of an indexing table.
The device, called the Rota-Rack, consists of a height-adjustable turntable, a PLC and an integrated linear conveyor. As a completed part is delivered out of a lathe, it drops onto the linear conveyor that moves the part toward the turntable. The table is programmed via PLC to index each time a finished part exits the lathe. The degree of this indexing rotation depends on the size of the part. The table is suited to collect parts as large as 10 inches long and 3 inches in diameter. It provides more than 850 square inches of usable surface area and has a payload capacity of 700 pounds.
The 36-inch-diameter turntable can rotate in either clockwise or counter-clockwise directions so that it can be positioned to either the left or right side of a lathe. The table height can be adjusted from 10.5 to 44 inches. Both the part-guiding spiral and the table surfaces are coated with a high-lubricity plastic to prevent parts from becoming marred. Although parts may rub against each other when they accumulate in the center of the table, the indexing motion is said to be slow, smooth and intermittent to minimize impact.