Anca's AIMS Enables Modular Automation Capability
The Anca Integrated Manufacturing System is a modular automation approach for tool production that reduces downtime, streamlines handling and enables lights-out manufacturing.
The Anca Integrated Manufacturing System (AIMS) uses smart automation and IT integration to connect sequential processes in tool manufacturing. The interconnected technology solution reduces machine downtime between batches, streamlines manual handling and enables operators to step away from continual monitoring and adjustment of production machines.
“Integration and automation solutions provide infrastructure to manufacture tools with increased productivity and higher quality,” says Chris Hegarty, Anca Group CEO. “We are delighted to be accelerating into the fourth industrial revolution with advanced, smart factory solutions for cutting tool makers — intelligent automation for connecting processes and data management.”
AIMS offers modular functionality users can adapt to their factory’s needs, from smaller-scale, data-based options to the full AIMS setup across a series of machines. The AIMS server is the system’s heart, managing data flows between the elements of the AIMS system and established IT platforms like ERP systems. Users can transfer tools between operations with the AutoFetch robot, mark tools with AutoMarkX, automate tool measurement and process compensation using AutoComp and manage data via the AutoSet hub.
“Our customers continue to look for custom solutions for increased automation in their operations, and AIMS is Anca’s holistic response,” says Duncan Thompson, AIMS project lead. “Automation that works best is targeted to repetitive processes that can occur alongside value-adding individual skills. AIMS slots in to seamlessly automate routine processes.”
Anca would like to highlight its AutoMarkX tool marking solution. AutoMarkX is capable of automated pallet loading and takes care of the tool laser marking process, freeing operators to perform more value-adding tasks. As part of the AIMS ecosystem, AutoMarkX is able to automatically receive and dispatch pallets from AutoFetch, while connectivity to the AIMS server provides details of the message to be marked on the tools. This connectivity enables users to perform lights-out production.
This shop justified the robot solely through improved use of labor. Other benefits came to light after the automation arrived.
After watching a machinist take four hours to set up a part on a VMC, Dan Olsen of Mach Machine knew he had a problem. The solution seemed clear: horizontal machining. The automation system wasn’t expected; but the novelty was well worth it before long.
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.