Automated Pallet-Handling System Offers More Control, Adaptation

Makino has introduced a new design configuration for its MMC2 automated pallet-handling system, which enables full compatibility with the company’s a61nx-5E five-axis horizontal machining center.

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Makino Inc. has introduced a new design configuration for its MMC2 automated pallet-handling system, which enables full compatibility with the company’s a61nx-5E five-axis horizontal machining center. These technologies offer aerospace manufacturers more control over workflow and the ability to adapt to complex, multi-dimensional part applications, the company says.

Retains the same modular design and capabilities of its predecessors, this configuration adds a new pallet-transfer interface on the system’s rail-guided vehicle (RGV). This interface can handle the pallet designs used on the a61nx-5E. As a result, manufacturers can achieve higher spindle utilization rates.

The MMC2 is designed to accommodate as many as 15 machining centers and four work-setting stations into a single system. Each system can hold as many as 200 pallet stockers—either one, two or three layers high—with a virtually unlimited variety of parts and fixtures, the company says. The system’s work-setting stations (WSS) provide easy access for operators to load and unload parts either by hand or crane.

The system permits users to virtually eliminate part setup time, according to the company. By providing a continual flow of parts to the machining center, the system can run for extended periods unattended, including over nights and weekends.

The updated MMC2 retains the Windows-based MAS-A5 control software, which helps maximize production output while monitoring multi-machine production requirements. The MAS-A5 main PC hard drive stores and manages all NC programs for optimum machine utilization, including those that exceed CNC memory. Tool data, both in and out of the a61nx-5E machines, can be accessed and modified from the MAS-A5 user interface. Standard control features include in-cell production scheduling, equipment status monitoring, NC program management and on-board reporting. These capabilities enable the MMC2 to assign work and initiate operations automatically, based on machine and material availability, using maximum spindle capabilities and monitoring all automated procedures. 

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