Flexible Pallet Automation Achieves High Spindle Utilization

Toyoda Machinery offers modular and expandable automation with its Flexible Pallet Automation (FPA) systems. The FPA systems enhance the production capabilities of HMCs by automating tasks such as machine loading and unloading.

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Toyoda Machinery offers modular and expandable automation with its Flexible Pallet Automation (FPA) systems. The FPA systems enhance the production capabilities of HMCs by automating tasks such as machine loading and unloading.

The upgradeable system can be customized to suit virtually any production environment, the company says. A single system can accommodate as many as 20 machines and 300 pallets. Designed for tight floor spaces, in-line pallet buffer racks can be stacked vertically at one, two or three levels high. They can be expanded to the left or right and have pallets on one or both sides of the rail. Different pallet sizes can be used within one system so that various machining centers can be linked in a single multi-purpose cell.

Parts are delivered to the machine by a rail-guided vehicle (RGV). The welded construction, linear guideways and high-speed RGV support high rates of acceleration. The detection system on the RGV secures the correct pallet, and an identification system double-checks the pallet as it loads. The FPA automates machine loading and unloading to increase spindle utilization while reducing operator involvement, the company says.

PC-based Mach-III cell control software centralizes control of all machines, work stations and pallets. This helps optimize production schedules, automate tasks and run lights-out. The controller maintains constant, real-time communication to all machines in the cell. Detailed production reports, tool management data and operator logs automate data collection.

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