Automated overall solution in production
RoboJob with tower system independently processes several jobs one after the other
In spring 2018, the last of the two new lathe and turning machines with robotic automation centers had started work at Fecken-Kirfel. At the beginning of September, a new tower system was added. With the automated complete solution, employees can better plan and carry out the work processes for manufacturing the parts for the cutting machines. Employee Christian Rotheut reports on the work with his new “colleague”.
Cutting mechanic Christian Rotheut has been working with the new robot system since the middle of the year. He enthuses about his new field of application that the production times of an article have been reduced by 70 percent. This can be read off from the old setup time data and the current runtimes. And not only the set-up time, but also the actual time for the production of the parts has shortened enormously. Extrapolated to over 2000 different parts, this means immense time savings. Christian Rotheut states with satisfaction that “many more orders than before can now be processed”.
Due to the high work load of all machines and the resulting waiting times, the production of the parts in the past sometimes took a few days. These lay or waiting times for further processing of, f. ex. turned parts, have significantly been reduced. All work processes are now performed on one machine. Due to this complete processing, the run times of individual parts are sometimes however higher than before because several processes are carried out on the machine, but as a whole the lay times are now shorter than ever.
As another significant result of the complete machining, more accurate components are manufactured since the re-clamping is eliminated. Thus, the mechanic is “free" to plan the construction of other parts and can program the machine accordingly while a part or a series is being manufactured at the same time.
Automated processing of several orders in succession
"Robi", as the new "colleague" is fondly called by the employees, is now supported by a new tower and gripper exchange system. This has made production even more efficient. The new tower system is a complete solution for loading and unloading lathes and milling machines. Similar to the automation solutions already introduced, the workpieces can be loaded and unloaded via the tower into the CNC machine.
The robot handles the workpiece and pallet loading as well as the change of the clamping chucks. The tower has 19 drawers which can flexibly be arranged. There, raw materials, workpieces and the clamping devices are housed. The drawer system of the tower and the automated change of the different clamping heads enable automatic processing of several jobs in the shortest possible time. With appropriate programming, the robot can also link different jobs with each other via the pallet system. He selects the corresponding workpieces and collects from the drawers of the tower in the required sequence for the successive processing of orders. Operation is even more autonomous, so that order processing can be planned even better than before. The new complete solution proves its worth above all with high quantities. Here, the robot efficiently processes one part after the other. "Afterwards, all parts are completely identical," explains the employee enthusiastically.
Carefull preparation of the processes for a smooth operation of the machine
Whether with or without automated support, careful work is still indispensable. To ensure that the robot works without supervision - for example overnight - all work steps have to be prepared error-free and reliably. From the use of tools to finished machining, all processes must be prepared / programmed in such way that any interferences that may arise can be excluded.
The creation of new jobs is also supported by the robot. The system asks at each step whether all parts and clamping devices required for a job are available. This eliminates interferences from the very start and only if this is ensured, the robot can process the jobs error-free with the required efficiency.
If everything goes as planned, the pallet with the finished parts will be ready in the morning "as if by magic". It is always fascinating for Christian Rotheut when the orders he has prepared the day before are finished in the morning. For Fecken-Kirfel, the time saved due to unmanned production means an enormous increase in efficiency in the production of cutting machines.
The machine and the tower are controlled via an intuitive user guide on the tablet. There, the user is guided through the menu and pointed to possible errors. At the moment, the machine is in the stage of being trained. The programming of parts to be produced will take a considerable time and means a lot of work for the young team which is responsible for the operation of the machine. But as soon as the production process for all parts is programmed, we will be able to harvest the fruits of our work, says Christian Rotheut delighted.