Robotic machining cell
West Chester, Ohio – The Fastems RoboCell One supports adaptable and flexible machining, particularly heavy workpieces within different sized batches. The easy-to-configure robot cell is primarily designed for handling heavy workpieces weighing up to 176 lb (80kg) and for automating up to two machine tools of the same type – either lathes or milling machines. The solution consequently comes into its own at the point where existing automation systems reach their limits solely due to the maximum weight of the workpiece.
The RoboCell One has been developed for the flexible production of different batch sizes including a wide variety of components. A special feature of the robot cell is an optional, automated gripper change system for the flexible handling of workpieces and the simple implementation of new components – without interrupting production operations. The robot can accordingly be fitted with single, double, or special grippers. Up to six different grippers may be used for handling workpieces in specific production operations.
A single robot that can be operated in one linear axis is able to supply two machines with workpieces in a flexible manner. Further, different products can be simultaneously produced by using both machines together. To accomplish this scenario, the robot automatically changes its grippers for loading/unloading the respective unit. The result is optimal use of machine capacity, even when orders are frequently altered.
The cell is designed for use with the Fastems Manufacturing Management Software (MMS) for controlling the robot cell and the machines that are connected to it. The MMS automatically plans the entire production process based on the production orders, including the changes of workpieces for batches of different sizes, and taking account of all the resources that are needed. In addition, the software shows the current production status in real time (order progress, schedule, etc.), it calculates the machinery capacities for outstanding orders, and it shows the operator in advance the machinery retooling operations that are needed.
When the RoboCell One is switched to the production of a new workpiece, virtually no knowledge of robotics is required. This greatly simplifies production, especially in the case of groups of components. Instead of the robot having to be laboriously taught, it is configured through parametric programming via the MMS. The necessary values and/or parameters for workpiece handling are stored in the control system via the intuitive MMS interface. This means that new parts master data and orders can be produced both quickly and simply during production operations, i.e. while the machine is running.