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New robotic systems for automating machine tools

Posted on 31 May 2024. Edited: John Hunter. Read 507 times.
New robotic systems for automating machine toolsKenilworth-based Whitehouse Machine Tools (WMT), in partnership with the Turkish manufacturer Tezmaksan has introduced to the UK and Ireland a new range of storage and handling systems, for loading and unloading machine tools automatically. CubeBOX robotic cells are suitable for automating virtually any make of CNC lathe or machining centre, including the Biglia, Brother and Spinner machines that WMT markets, as well as other types of machine tools.

Robot operation is non-stop, resulting in close to 100% OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) of the machining cell, which is unattainable if machine tending is performed manually. Higher productivity and reduced lead times are the result. Fast loading and unloading of workpieces in and out of up to three machines enhances flexibility and agility, enabling quick adaptation to changing production requirements.

Amortisation of an investment is rapid, as the operator only needs to load billets, castings or forgings into the workpiece magazine and unload the finish-machined components, freeing them up to carry out other added-value tasks elsewhere on the shopfloor. Additionally, unattended ghost-shift production is possible, contributing further to profitability and allowing manufacturers to compete more effectively in a competitive global marketplace for machined components.

Cell integration and robot programming are said to be particularly easy. Connection to any make of machine control system is possible, eliminating the need for customisation or modification. The process therefore does not rely on a skilled integrator. The high degree of compatibility simplifies and lowers the cost of implementation. Downtime is minimised during installation and commissioning, which normally takes a day, reducing the expense associated with prolonged setup periods.

The foundation of all CubeBOX systems is RoboCAM, an intelligent, 2.5-axis CAD/CAM automation software developed by Tezmaksan. Operators can effortlessly integrate any compatible industrial six-axis robot into the cell, without the need for prior programming knowledge. RoboCAM translates any uploaded 2-D product drawing into a robot-friendly language, enabling seamless communication and execution of automated cycles.

Furthermore, the flexibility of CubeBOX allows its easy transportation between different machine tools within a factory. Such mobility ensures optimal usage of the system across various workstations, eliminating the need for separate robotic setups for each machine. The versatility empowers manufacturers to streamline their production efficiently, optimising resource allocation and floor space.