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Brother : 2 machines or 1 pallet changer

I have no idea what #s Houdini is using to make an R Brother not pencil out, but having one I am sure they are well off. For me the two biggest time savers are the 2 second part swaps and the machine will do them even if the operator is somewhere else. At the end of the day for me I think the latter is good for 25% more parts made, which I never thought of when I was penciling out what machine to get.

My case study. I had/ have a 2001 Kitamura single table with around 100,000 hours on it and bad spindle motor bearings so I don't run it above 6k. All production is palletized so I can swap parts with 15-20 seconds of spindle down time. My math said the Brother with a 16k spindle should make the same parts in less than 1/3 the time of the Kit due to the faster spindle and tool change but that was WAY off, at best the Bother makes them 50% faster. All parts are small aluminum "widgets" but I have to hold .0002" to .001" tolerances, which really slow the Brother down when I turn on a high accuracy mode. In the end my R650 only makes twice as many parts a day as my Kit, doing the same number of parts per cycle in the same fixtures, but totally new programs running the Brother as fast as it will go. If I went with an S500 I bet that improvement would have been only 50% at best, the rotating table makes that much of a difference. If you haven't run one for a few months you don't know what you are missing, and I say that from experience. If you do production the rotating table premium$$ is a no brainer.

As for the Brother being so fast you can just do one part at a time I don't agree. For me the math is roughly 12 tools and two pallet swaps = 24 seconds saved PER PART comparing 1 to 8 parts a cycle. Times 200 to 400 parts a day that is a lot of time.
 
Thanks everyone! Very interesting to read, and yes it's a difficult question because there are so many parameters.
 
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better than being the meat robot. my back hurts just watching yah :D (just fkn with yah)
 
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better than being the meat robot. my back hurts just watching yah :D (just fkn with yah)
Since it is so fast it keeps me from sneaking off to waste time on my computer. Besides, I don't think of them as parts coming out of the fixtures, I think of them as $$ which puts a smile on my face.

If we were making the same parts out of those slugs and you had the Genos vs my R650 I know for a fact my hourly profit would be far higher than yours. Granted I would only be doing 8 parts a cycle because that is what my tombstone 4th axis vises hold, but I could have 20 of them for what that fixture costs.

Honestly, I don't know what you are smoking to think the R series Brothers are a gimmick.
 
Since it is so fast it keeps me from sneaking off to waste time on my computer. Besides, I don't think of them as parts coming out of the fixtures, I think of them as $$ which puts a smile on my face.

If we were making the same parts out of those slugs and you had the Genos vs my R650 I know for a fact my hourly profit would be far higher than yours. Granted I would only be doing 8 parts a cycle because that is what my tombstone 4th axis vises hold, but I could have 20 of them for what that fixture costs.

Edit: but the point is the OP, and myself have other machines to run, that long run on the M560 opens you up to make even more money with other machines, that's the point scale.
That R650 is kinda anti-scale :D
Honestly, I don't know what you are smoking to think the R series Brothers are a gimmick.
It's relative I guess to I have VMCs, and as many as I can run (4) To make more money, I need pallet loading, and more axis.
So I see a really fast dual table machine pencils out as backwards.
So the only way I can make more part$ is a pallet loading 5 axis, or multi pallet horizontal.
So looking toward 5 axis with Erowa 30 pallet system next.

Gotta get away from babysitting machines every couple minutes.
Not scalable, I'm maxed out.

Dual table speedio is backwards in IMHO
 
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And actually with the OP scenario in mind, he has a bunch of machines already, to scale he also needs to get away from the machines also, needs more automation.
A R650 being a heavy babysit machine, as all your videos show.
I would more suggest a U500 and a FLEX.

Or if on a poor machinists budget
 
For my parts a robot is questionable or not an option, for ops parts I can't see a robot working for his short runs. Short term I need to add pneumatic to make clamp/unclamp faster, then I can speed up my programs since I can now swap parts faster. For many of my parts I don't run the spindle over 12k since I can barely keep up with it anyway. Yeah, the R650 is a heavy babysit machine since as soon as you swap parts and hit the green button the damn thing swaps the table and you have to do it all over again. The only way I could run more machines is if I turn the feeds and speeds down to give me time to do it, then I would have time to fire the old Kitty up.
 
And actually with the OP scenario in mind, he has a bunch of machines already, to scale he also needs to get away from the machines also, needs more automation.
A R650 being a heavy babysit machine, as all your videos show.
I would more suggest a U500 and a FLEX.

You two are arguing the same thing, but from different directions.

The point of the R is entirely for the situation that you are babysitting a machine. No question.

So to setup the straw man first. If you are making small aluminium parts, then any Brother is going to be having runtimes in the seconds and you will struggle to put enough parts in to get it into the minutes. The little magnetic vise stops I make take only around 7 seconds to rough out, and so even making 6 up (500mm long bar stock), I struggle to get to a few minutes of runtime. Recently a customer chassis part, 2 up, so 600mm x 400mm, is only 7 minutes to eat out all the interior and then it needs flipping. (It would only be seconds except for all the little details and tapping, etc). So I've filled the table (700x400mm), and now opening the door is the slowest part of the process.

Lets agree that if we had huge lumps of steel then we wouldn't have this problem. The point was to identify a specific scenarios to knock down. It could be a manufacturer post processing castings or drill tap jobs or whatever

So once the cycle times are very low then I presume we are all in agreement there are 3 main ways to proceed:
1) Pack more parts in (but we designed our scenario to say we filled the table and the cycle time is still very short)
2) Create pallets, so the reload time can keep the spindle running as long as possible
3) Use a robot. Slower per reload, but the argument is that it runs without ever stopping, so this compensates that it's not so speedy at loading each part
(I'm not counting adding more machines)

The R series attacks point 2. It's only a slightly larger machine and slightly more expensive. However, you get a simple dual pallet solution, which can be swapped without any heavy lifting in sub 2 seconds (or whatever it is). So for the scenario that you are chained to the machine, with low cycle times (lets say sub 5 minute cycles), then it keeps that spindle running continously

I have to assume that your part mix allows you to setup much larger tables with more parts? However, just keep in mind that this isn't every shop. Most of the parts I make I end up chained to the machine. However, because the load and run times are about equal, if I had purchased the R series machine I could be twice as productive (but I agree, still chained to the machine).

I think we agree that an R series machine is more minimally useful for longer run jobs. OK you can look at it as getting 2 tables before you reload, but really it's value comes from the situation where you have very short cycle times and have to have an operator chained to and feeding the machine. So for that kind of situation it's a relatively inexpensive way to boost productivity.
 
In my experience, sub minute table run times are very unlikely. The thing about the R that unless you have experience with it is, the machine pacing the outflow is just a better situation than the employee setting the flow. A better work situation for the operator. I have yet to see (37 years of this machine sales stuff) where the table full of parts on a 40x20 matches the expectation of the shop management when expectations of parts per hour are actually counted at the end of the day. People need to pee. An operator who is rushed makes mistakes. Single flow alleviates issues with chasing a bad part after the fact. You know where it came from. That comment comes from years of customers discussing one bad part on a tombstone or table laid out with a dozen parts. Where was t nested is the first question before why is it bad. That is just my experience and what I would do if I was the buyer knowing what I know.
 
You two are arguing the same thing, but from different directions.

The point of the R is entirely for the situation that you are babysitting a machine. No question.

So to setup the straw man first. If you are making small aluminium parts, then any Brother is going to be having runtimes in the seconds and you will struggle to put enough parts in to get it into the minutes. The little magnetic vise stops I make take only around 7 seconds to rough out, and so even making 6 up (500mm long bar stock), I struggle to get to a few minutes of runtime. Recently a customer chassis part, 2 up, so 600mm x 400mm, is only 7 minutes to eat out all the interior and then it needs flipping. (It would only be seconds except for all the little details and tapping, etc). So I've filled the table (700x400mm), and now opening the door is the slowest part of the process.

Lets agree that if we had huge lumps of steel then we wouldn't have this problem. The point was to identify a specific scenarios to knock down. It could be a manufacturer post processing castings or drill tap jobs or whatever

So once the cycle times are very low then I presume we are all in agreement there are 3 main ways to proceed:
1) Pack more parts in (but we designed our scenario to say we filled the table and the cycle time is still very short)
2) Create pallets, so the reload time can keep the spindle running as long as possible
3) Use a robot. Slower per reload, but the argument is that it runs without ever stopping, so this compensates that it's not so speedy at loading each part
(I'm not counting adding more machines)

The R series attacks point 2. It's only a slightly larger machine and slightly more expensive. However, you get a simple dual pallet solution, which can be swapped without any heavy lifting in sub 2 seconds (or whatever it is). So for the scenario that you are chained to the machine, with low cycle times (lets say sub 5 minute cycles), then it keeps that spindle running continously

I have to assume that your part mix allows you to setup much larger tables with more parts? However, just keep in mind that this isn't every shop. Most of the parts I make I end up chained to the machine. However, because the load and run times are about equal, if I had purchased the R series machine I could be twice as productive (but I agree, still chained to the machine).

I think we agree that an R series machine is more minimally useful for longer run jobs. OK you can look at it as getting 2 tables before you reload, but really it's value comes from the situation where you have very short cycle times and have to have an operator chained to and feeding the machine. So for that kind of situation it's a relatively inexpensive way to boost productivity.
YOU FORGOT THE PART WHERE THE MACHINE DOESN'T NEED THE OPERATOR TO SWAP PARTS WHEN IT IS DONE. THAT ALONE HAS BEEN HAS INCREASED MY DAILY PRODUCTION BY AROUND 25%. HALF OF THE BENEFIT OF THE ROTATING TABLE IS IN THE LITTLE THINGS THAT YOU DON'T THINK OF WHEN PENCILING IT OUT AND WILL ONLY REALIZE AFTER RUNNING ONE FOR A FEW MONTHS AND HAVE MADE THE CHANGES TO YOUR ROUTINE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.

IF YOU ARE DOING PRODUCTION THEN THE ROTATING TABLE IS WORTH THE EXTRA COST.
 
In my experience, sub minute table run times are very unlikely. The thing about the R that unless you have experience with it is, the machine pacing the outflow is just a better situation than the employee setting the flow. A better work situation for the operator. I have yet to see (37 years of this machine sales stuff) where the table full of parts on a 40x20 matches the expectation of the shop management when expectations of parts per hour are actually counted at the end of the day. People need to pee. An operator who is rushed makes mistakes. Single flow alleviates issues with chasing a bad part after the fact. You know where it came from. That comment comes from years of customers discussing one bad part on a tombstone or table laid out with a dozen parts. Where was t nested is the first question before why is it bad. That is just my experience and what I would do if I was the buyer knowing what I know.
I'm the one running the machines so I never do single flow unless it pencils out, it just wastes way too much time even with 2 second tool changes. If you are chasing a bad part after the fact whomever was responsible for inspecting the parts during production obviously did not do their job. If you make multiple parts a cycle you have to inspect a part from each station regularly enough to ensure they are all good.
 
For 50-100 part runs I'd run them in a standard 3 axis vmc.
Our R450X1 we use for 100+ part runs that have cycle times anywhere from 1 minute to 20+ minutes depending on the part of course.
We have 8 of the Chick 50mm double vises (4 per pallet) that we typically use.
So the main consideration of using them is setup time and cost of those quick change soft jaws which are about $100 per set so we need 8 sets.
We save them for future runs of that job. So you see it can get costly if you go that route.
Running them in our Okuma Genos M560, we can have 4 of our 6" vises with our homemade soft jaws and have them running in no time.

I guess that's another thing you need to consider when putting parts in the pallet changer versus a standard 3 axis vmc.

While I do love the Brother, for me it can be cumbersome to set up new production run jobs at times.

If you're making a ton of aluminum chips or even using a corncob style cutting steel, the chip evac is absolutely horrible on the R450X1 and I'm not talking about the conveyor. The chips build up into a mountain under the table and the chip wash does nothing to wash them to the conveyor. You have to stop the machine, use a stick or small rake and push them down the middle of the casting into the conveyor. It sucks. You have to come at it from both the left and right side of the machine to get the mountain under control.
 
I'm the one running the machines so I never do single flow unless it pencils out, it just wastes way too much time even with 2 second tool changes. If you are chasing a bad part after the fact whomever was responsible for inspecting the parts during production obviously did not do their job. If you make multiple parts a cycle you have to inspect a part from each station regularly enough to ensure they are all good.
I understand your point and I cannot argue with your opinion or outlook. I am just sharing what I have seen. You are the operator, and the inspector, and the programmer. This isn't the norm and even in this case , I have no idea if the user wants to grow past being a single man shop.

jmo
 
If you're making a ton of aluminum chips or even using a corncob style cutting steel, the chip evac is absolutely horrible on the R450X1 and I'm not talking about the conveyor. The chips build up into a mountain under the table and the chip wash does nothing to wash them to the conveyor. You have to stop the machine, use a stick or small rake and push them down the middle of the casting into the conveyor. It sucks. You have to come at it from both the left and right side of the machine to get the mountain under control.
The xD1 R series have a different casting with a hole just behind/under the table instead of using the poop-chute way out the back. When evaluating them for some of our applications where we cut dry chip management on our X2 R650 has been a huge concern.

@Houdini In line with what @DavidScott said, we bought our R650 expecting to see huge boosts in productivity because "Speedio" but... we are lazy and basically run the same code on it as our DT1, putting zero effort into optimizing the programs.
Even through cycle times are pretty much the same the R machine somehow manages to crank out 25-50% more parts in an average day, and has helped keep our other machines more productive.
We have 2 operators running an auto saw (sometimes two), 3 lathes, and 2 mills. If they had a bigger machine and just put more pieces on the table they would be spending a longer block of time at that machine instead of feeding the lathes that are the actual constraint in production. By being able to load the table when its most convenient they can keep the more "important" lathe cycles running, and feed that machine after everything else is running.
We knew the pallet change would be a boost to throughput of that specific operation, but we hadn't really even considered how it would help other machines basically for free!
 
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For this thread pallet changer = R450 R650 or older TC32b...

I work for my own since 2 years, I have a
- Brother TC22 (1999)
- Mazak Ajv18 with 4 axes (1991)
- old Cazeneuve with live tools (1989)

My shop is full now, so the question will keep old machine and move shop for add new machine or replace it.

I like the idea of keeping a machine that works, even if I don't use it very often.but it's not necessarily the best choice

- own products 30%
- a customer with series of 50-100 parts 50%
- miscellaneous parts 20%

parts size : less than 60x40x30 (aluminum and steel no exotic material)

I don't have need right now but ma setup is old and I'm little scare about failure ( also some options missing tape mode, small memories..)
Actually without arguing the Brother dual pallet, there are bigger questions.

You have 2 VMCs one with a 4th, and a live tool lathe.
All machines are old, and shop is full.
A single person can only run 2-3 standard machines, and even less dual table Brothers.

So now the question, what do you want from the business?

A lot of people on this site don't actually want to own a business, they want to own a job.
They don't want a big shop in the city, full of employees and stress and headaches, with a bunch of large expensive machines.
They want a one man show, in a big shed, out in some rural area running a couple machines off solar panels for enough $$ to live well on.

On the other hand their are others who wants a larger business, scalability, employees doing the work not themselves, they don't want to work in machining at all, an end to a means.
They may want the one man show or not, but are more interested in buying larger automated more expensive setups that run more unattended but make more money due to scaling their time to money ratio.

So you need to decide first what do you want from the business, whats does it look like in the end?
Do you want to move to a larger shop and add more machines, larger machines, automation, larger building, larger payments?
Do you want employees?
Do you just want the little 3 machine, one man show shop, making just enough money?, So just start replacing machines then.
Do you want a one man show, but more money, and less work, then you need to start adding automated, multi axis, pallet 'loading', scaling machines.They will need more room.

Look at it from the business end goal, and the current needs, and try to get from A to B.
 
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yes, there are several possibilities, some of which work better in certain cases ...

my basic opinion was to have enough cycle time (so increase the number of parts on the table or 4th axis) to be able to manage 2-3 machines.

but it's true that it's not easy, you first have to get all the machines set up so that it works, then manage to keep up with the pace ... sometimes it works

it would work better if I had more parts to make.

What attracts me to the pallet machine :

- automatic pallet changeover if I'm at another machine
- the spindle turns while I'm reloading parts

I often say to myself, if I had a pallet, it could make parts now.


As for my goals:

- I don't want a big workshop
- but I'd like to change locations to better organize the flow of parts
- I like the idea of having a back-up machine, last year I lost 1 month because of spindle bearings. so if I were to buy a new one, I'd like to keep the machines I have because they're not valuable but, above all, they work.

1 old VMC + Pallet could be the way to go!
 
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Something I haven't seen mentioned- Pallet changing machines have significantly better ergonomics. Loading a table VS loading at a load station is night and day difference.

I have big and small VMC's, lathes from 42MM to 16" chuck and an HMC. HMC and big VMC get the majority of use in my shop. I love the pallet changing HMC for anything that fits in it.
 
We have an R650 that self loads with a spindle gripper. 4th axis + pneumatic vises on one side, parts tray on the other. The parts tray stays very clean, mostly chip-free. Definitely a rare use case, but it's a part printing monster.

Normally, the machine would be best compared to a 2-pallet horizontal. Even with two rotaries, it won't match the capacity or rigidity of a good 400mm HMC, but it excels in other areas. 1/2 the foot print, 1/4 the power requirements, and 1/4 the tool changing time for starters.

Pallet pools and robots are in a different league of automation, but they present new challenges. With a 2-pallet machine, whether it's a VMC or HMC, you're never too far from the last cycle. With a 6, 12, 20+ pallet machine, by the time you notice a problem, you could have run 20-30 hours of production since. All scrap or in need of rework. I've spent entire days reworking undersized bores more often than I'd care to admit. I've since solved that problem by using unique finishing tools assigned to individual pallets/programs. In some cases, two different sized bores on the same part will use two different tools.
 
We have an R650 that self loads with a spindle gripper. 4th axis + pneumatic vises on one side, parts tray on the other. The parts tray stays very clean, mostly chip-free. Definitely a rare use case, but it's a part printing monster.

Normally, the machine would be best compared to a 2-pallet horizontal. Even with two rotaries, it won't match the capacity or rigidity of a good 400mm HMC, but it excels in other areas. 1/2 the foot print, 1/4 the power requirements, and 1/4 the tool changing time for starters.

Pallet pools and robots are in a different league of automation, but they present new challenges. With a 2-pallet machine, whether it's a VMC or HMC, you're never too far from the last cycle. With a 6, 12, 20+ pallet machine, by the time you notice a problem, you could have run 20-30 hours of production since. All scrap or in need of rework. I've spent entire days reworking undersized bores more often than I'd care to admit. I've since solved that problem by using unique finishing tools assigned to individual pallets/programs. In some cases, two different sized bores on the same part will use two different tools.
I like it, the auto loading R650 idea, nice call, see once again Eric has some good less costly scaling ideas.
Screw the one guy grinding himself to death for money. Nice call!
 








 
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