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MRT Castings invests in automated mill-turn centre

Posted on 30 Mar 2019 and read 1617 times
MRT Castings invests in automated mill-turn centreAndover-based MRT Castings, an aluminium die-casting specialist, ordered a Brother Speedio M140X2 mill-turn centre with a Feedio robotic component-handling system at Southern Manufacturing last month, to be supplied by UK sole agent Whitehouse Machine Tools (www.wmtcnc.com).

MRT already uses robotic systems in its foundry, but not in its machine shop until now (apart from twin pallet changers on its existing Japanese-built Brother machining centres).

The new mill-turn centre, which will represent the first five-axis machining capacity on-site, is due to be operational by May; the Feedio system will supply raw material to the machine and return the finished components automatically.

Managing director Phil Rawnson said: “We have been looking to introduce automation into our machine shop for several years. At present, we operate a day shift with a few hours’ overtime in the early morning and evening.

“The Brother cell will allow us to run lights out for up to 8hr, depending on component size and cycle times, as well as unattended during the day. We expect this capability to have a big impact on our productivity.”

The plug-and-play Feedio automation unit communicates with the machining centre via a Profibus interface. It is supplied with a six-axis ABB robot and the manufacturer’s smart teach pendant (incorporating a customised Speedio page).

The robot is equipped with interchangeable grippers capable of handling MRT’s billets, which are up to 80mm in diameter, or aluminium castings up to 120mm in diameter, delivering them to a hydraulically actuated chuck on the machine table.

A vision system and built-in PC allows the robot to detect where on the upper inlet conveyor of the Feedio a workpiece has been placed.

After machining, components are returned to an output conveyor positioned below the first for compactness.