Toyoda Machinery offers modular and expandable automation with its Flexible Pallet Automation (FPA) systems. These systems enhance the production capabilities of HMCs by automating tasks such as machine loading and unloading. According to the company, this helps users achieve high spindle utilization while reducing operator involvement.
The systems are said to be easy to upgrade and can be customized to suit virtually any production environment. A single system can accommodate as many as 20 machines and 300 pallets. When floor space is tight, in-line pallet buffer racks can be stacked vertically at one-, two- or three-levels high. They also can be expanded to the left or right, with pallets on one or both sides of the rail. Different pallet sizes can be used within one system to link various machining centers in a single, multi-purpose cell.
A rail-guided vehicle (RGV) delivers parts to the machines. The welded construction, linear guideways and high speed enable RGV to support high rates of acceleration. The detection system on the RGV secures the correct pallet every time, the company says, and an identification system double-checks the pallet as it loads.
The company’s PC-based Mach-III cell control software centralizes control of all machines, workstations and pallets. This optimizes production schedules, automates tasks and enables light-out runs on nights and weekends. The cell controller maintains constant, real-time communication to all machines in the cell. Detailed production reports, tool management data and operator logs automate data collection.