Automated Tool Clamping, Measurement
This system combines tool presetting with tool clamping to automatically set, measure and clamp tools.
I’ve written about a number of different toolholding technologies. One is the PowRGrip toolholding system from Rego-Fix. This system consists of precision, collet-style toolholders and a benchtop hydraulic press used to insert or remove collets from the holders. R&G Precision Machining is one shop that uses this system, believing (as I describe in this story) it combines high clamping force with quicker, safer tool changes than shrink-fit systems. After clamping, R&G then takes completed tool assemblies to its Zoller presetter for measurement.
However, as I learned at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) last September, Rego-Fix and Zoller have since teamed up to create an automated solution that performs tool clamping with the PowRGrip and tool measurement with a Zoller Venturion 600 presetter, as is shown in this video. Once an operator installs a tool in a PowRGrip toolholder, the system will perform tool clamping (in less than 10 seconds), presetting and measurement without further operator intervention. This system works with tools that feature clamping diameters ranging from 0.2 to 25.4 mm, and length presetting repeatability is said to be less than 10 microns. It seems right up the alley for shops that are considering other automated processes, such as machine tending using robots.
Turning automation helps this shop produce parts more efficiently.
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.
This 40-year-old shop combines original best practices with new technologies and manufacturing approaches to make the most of its home-grown skilled labor.