An Adaptable Automation System in Action
Videos show how a flexible robotic system for part loading and unloading helped a shop increase capacity.
This article from our January issue describes how a job shop increased its capacity by using a flexible, easy-to-program system for automating part loading and unloading. Kilgore Manufacturing in Columbia City, Indiana, was looking for automated part-loading option adaptable to small-batch production, and the shop found it a robot system from Halter. These videos illustrate how the adaptable robot works.
The LoadAssistant from Halter works with any CNC lathe or mill. The operator interface uses a 12-step, icon-driven process to quickly and easily set up new jobs.
Once the system is programmed, the robotic arm picks up blanks from a turntable grid on the staging pallet and loads them into the machine.
When the cycle is complete, the CNC signals the system to remove the finished part from the machine and place it back into the grid.
After all the parts on one side of the grid are complete, the robotic arm turns the grid and begins loading the parts on the other side. The operator can unload the finished parts from that side of the grid and replace them with blanks.
Programming a robot with the same CAM software used for a multi-axis machine tool makes it unnecessary to “teach” the robot by jogging it manually from point to point and recording these point-to-point moves as the robot’s motion commands. Robotmaster is a software package that provides this CAD/CAM-based, off-line programming for robots. It runs fully integrated inside Mastercam CAM software for CNC machine tools.
From quoting and design analysis to the application of tool paths, software automation facilitates custom-machined parts on demand and without middlemen.
Three major technological advancements have changed modern manufacturing. Pay attention or get left behind.