Customer information – The customer is a machine shop and manufacturing company specializing in high-precision contract CNC machining with in-house engineering, metals finishing and assembly.
Application – The automated handling of a large cast-iron component including: transfer of the component from machine to machine, CMM (Coordinate Measuring Machine) quality checks between each machining operation, a secondary process after final machining and the palletization of the final product with tier sheets in between each layer. The part starts out as a 100 lb. blank and weighs about 40 lbs. in its final machined state. The cell services three (3) Mori-Seiki SL-403 lathes, a CMM and a custom built process machine. The processing rate is approximately 1 part every 15 minutes.
Background – Prior to the automation, the part was manufactured on various machine tools using a labor-intensive manufacturing process requiring 9 operators over a 3-shift/7 day per week basis.
Problem – The volume of this component was going up and there was no way to keep up based on the current method of manufacturing.
Solution – Based upon the increased part volume required and the difficulty of having an operator handle the size and weight of the part, automating the part handling process was the only option. The solution called for a six-axis track mounted robot to handle the part throughout the entire process including: the load/unload of multiple machine tools, multiple process quality checks at a CMM and final packing to a skid.
Results – The installation of the Housing Cell Automation enabled the customer to meet not only their production requirements, but also the stringent quality standards demanded by their customer. The staffing requirements went from a total of 9 operators to 1 part-time operator running the whole cell. The cell runs 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
The Manufacturing Engineering Manager of a precision machine shop in Springville, NY says, “Automated Cells & Equipment provided solid upfront engineering and development of a Robot Cell to meet our requirements for throughput, efficiency and productivity in handling a heavy-duty precision machined component. They were prompt and thorough in all aspects of the project including installation and commissioning of the cell at our facility. The whole experience with ACE was a pleasant one and I would recommend them to anyone looking to add automation and robotics to their manufacturing facility.”