Machine tool automation goes Large

Uploaded 27 Jul @ 15:50pm

One automation company that offers an array of robotic solutions for improved manufacturing efficiency, that can be scaled to fit almost any application is REM Systems Erowa.
For over 30 years Erowa has been providing factory automation to most of the world’s advanced manufacturing industry sectors. Its recently launched new LoadMaster range builds on the company’s renowned reputation for precision and quality to offer automatic loading and unloading of large workpieces, up to 4,000 kg. Even at this size the Erowa system provide an exceptional return on investment, one aspect that customers have come to expect.
Raw material billets, part machined components and cast workpieces weighing up to 4,000 kg can be transferred using LoadMaster. Thanks to its ingenious kinetic system with a very limited space requirement. Equipped with a 360° swivel function, any position in the magazine and on the machine tools’ tables can be reliably reached.
The magazines are designed to stack vertically with the storage positions arranged over two, three or four levels, saving on floorspace and subsequently cost. Each level is optimally configured for typical workpiece sizes.
Managing Director, Ian Holbeche, explains: “Erowa support a plan called the ‘Flexible Manufacturing Concept’ (FMC). Following this plan customers equipped with an Erowa system can typically increase productivity by a factor of five using various manufacturing technology, including die sinking EDM, multi axis milling and turning, as well as measurement and inspection.
“Now, the new LoadMaster allows manufacturing businesses that produce larger, and therefore heavier, components to increase their productivity. Typically, this might be large press tool plates, multi cavity injection moulds, valves and pipe fitting as well as aircraft structural and propulsion components.”
Operator setup stations are integral components of the LoadMaster production lines, with access via sliding doors or walk-in stations. Versions are available with lifting units, with rotating and tilting table, or with indexing table. The setup positions are also accessible via overhead crane.
The overall process control system assists the operator in the daily production flow, with clear displays of system status.
The transfer unit moves between the magazines and machines on solid rails. The grippers optimally support the various application scenarios. ‘TwinFork’ double grippers for faster chip-to-chip times or ‘MultiFork’ end effector for the loading and unloading of different pallet sizes.
The TwinFork double gripper significantly reduces chip-to-chip time when changing pallets, whereby the fresh workpiece is held in one gripper is exchanged for the finished workpiece removed from the machining envelope. This is an important factor when long transfer distances are combined with short machining cycles.
In systems with different pallet sizes, the MultiFork gripper provides an efficient alternative to changing individual grippers. The gripper width seamlessly adapts to different pallet dimensions. Solid technology for large workpieces.
Offering maximum flexibility, the pallet storage units, also called magazines, or storage locations, can be fully adjusted. Both the level height and arrangement by level can be adapted to the workpiece sizes used. The vertical stacking up to four levels high provides the optimal use of space.
The magazine modules can be combined in series and there is no limit on the number of units that can be connected. The total rail length of the LoadMaster depends on the number of machines and their positioning.

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