Midaco’s Automatic Pallet Changers Increase CNC Machine Efficiency
IMTS Spark: New automatic pallet changers from Midaco aim to increase CNC machine efficiency and overall productivity by eliminating spindle downtime and easing demands on the operator’s time.
New automatic pallet changers from Midaco aim to increase CNC machine efficiency and overall productivity by eliminating spindle downtime and easing demands on the operator’s time. Integrated with the machine tool’s control panel via M code, this automated shuttle system transfers part loaded pallets unattended onto a receiver mounted directly to the VMC table. The operator can focus on other tasks while the pallet transfers, then return to the machine to load the next batch of parts outside the VMC while the machining center continues cutting. With no overhead obstruction, an automatic pallet changer system added to a bridge mill eliminates the need to stop the machining center and allows for large-part crane loading directly onto the shuttle while the mill continues cutting.
All models of the system are available with an optional light curtain for CE compliance. With three-sided guarding via a light emitter, mirrors and sensors, a pallet change will not occur if the invisible light beams surrounding the shuttle system are breached. Once the obstruction is removed the pallet changer will resume automatically.
Midaco’s automatic pallet systems can be installed on the right side or the left side (or both sides for dual shuttle systems) of new or existing machining centers with travels from 22" × 14" (558.8 × 355.6 mm) up to 190" × 72" (4,826 × 1,829 mm) and provide up to a 32,000 lb (14,528 kg) weight capacity with parts evenly distributed on the pallet. Depending on the part size and weight, a pallet change can be as little as six seconds on a VMC with a 22" × 14" (558.8 × 355.6-mm) travel to just a few minutes on large bridge mills. Automatic pallet changer systems are also available for large and small machining centers which do not move in the Y axis.
Custom engineered workholding fixtures are key to the effectiveness of an unusual Automated Production System (APS) recently installed at Kurt Manufacturing. It helps that one of this company’s specialties is custom engineered workholding fixtures.
Robotic automation is transforming a job that was perhaps a machine operator’s least-favorite work assignment into one that is not a heavy lift.
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.