Automation

Machine-tending robot from CNC Robotics triples production for optics specialists

Updated on Tuesday 3 November 2020, 9:31 AM

3 Minute Read

It is a good problem to have when a customer triples their production requirements overnight but how can robotics help?

CNC Robotics recently worked with a optics specialist to enable them to triple production from its latest Mazak Integrex machine through the adoption of a robotic machine tending cell. The system, designed and developed by CNC Robotics uses a KUKA robot, and was expected to pay for itself in three months but has repaid the investment in half that time.

The company had recently invested in a new Mazak Integrex as a machine was needed that could generate all of the critical features and surfaces in one set-up, and complete the part in one operation. The multi-tasking capabilities of the Integrex made it one of only a few machines capable of meeting these demands.

All went smoothly until the customer tripled its order volume and asked for the new production level to be reached within one month. The company’s management started to look at ways to automate the production, including the possible use of a Cobot to load and unload the Integrex. One of their tooling suppliers, who also provides tooling for CNC Robotics, suggested that they should contact the robot specialists.

The company approached CNC Robotics. They were impressed by the companies can-do attitude and the flexibility an industrial robot can bring. The resulting package from CNC Robotics included the robot, its enclosure and a purpose-designed fixture to load and remove the parts. The robot selected by CNC Robotics is faster and robust, an important factor as none of the company’s staff had any previous experience in operating this type of equipment.

The system installation was completed on a Friday afternoon, and was left to run over that night. By the end of the weekend, more than 300 components had been produced, all to the high standards expected for optical equipment.

Overall, the robot has allowed a tripling of the production from the Integrex. The company works nine and a half hour shifts, expecting each machine to work for around eight of those hours. With the robot, production can be maintained for up to twenty-four hours a day and across the weekends.

By removing the need to have its machine operators constantly loading and unloading the Integrex, the company has been able to increase their range of skills, both by teaching them to use a wider range of machines and by adding new abilities like CADCAM programming. The extra time has been used to put more emphasis on process control, so allowing general efficiency to be improved and potential problems to be anticipated and resolved more effectively.

Read the full case study on CNC Robotics website: https://www.cncrobotics.co.uk/case-studies/machine-tending-robot/

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