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What’s the longest you’ve ever been “slow”?

Light automation is possible and quick to implement with spindle grippers after you've done a little bit groundwork creating reusable templates. Even if you only automate 5 parts at a time, it can make a big difference.

In some cases you could forego the parts tray entirely by using multiple grippers, loaded with blanks and stored in the ATC. The grippers could be of a lower cost variety, while a better gripper is used for regripping and fine placement in the vise.
I assume that if you have in-machine grippers and blank trays that you have to have a pallet changing machine like the brother R series with one pallet having the vise and the other with the blanks or else chips will get all over your blanks every time you cut your part and maybe screw up your automation.
 
I assume that if you have in-machine grippers and blank trays that you have to have a pallet changing machine like the brother R series with one pallet having the vise and the other with the blanks or else chips will get all over your blanks every time you cut your part and maybe screw up your automation.
Use air blast or one of those little spinning fans to blow off any chips
 
I assume that if you have in-machine grippers and blank trays that you have to have a pallet changing machine like the brother R series with one pallet having the vise and the other with the blanks or else chips will get all over your blanks every time you cut your part and maybe screw up your automation.
No, the side door lifts, robot pushes pallets inside, gripper swaps finished part with blank stock, robot retracts, side door closes, robot waits outside.
 
No, the side door lifts, robot pushes pallets inside, gripper swaps finished part with blank stock, robot retracts, side door closes, robot waits outside.
Or a fancy cabinet drawer with an air cylinder and some proxy switches maybe.
 
Or a fancy cabinet drawer with an air cylinder and some proxy switches maybe.
Yeah same difference, the parts aren't in the machine while machining.

If you did the parts in the machine, mine as well buy a large table 3 axis add a 5th trunnion, and add trays to the left and right of the trunnion.
But you would need to run coolant and or fan over the swap area each time.
 
There's guys running spindle grippers on 30" mills with part trays on the table. Can't be ideal to deal with those chips but they're doing it. This website has some video (can't vouch for them, no connection, just posting as examples): https://gimbelautomation.com/

An R-650 and a trunnion sounds like a great option though.
 
Earlier it was implied you can't run automation on a pallet changing hmc. Why not?

Is it just gravity making it harder to load parts?
 
This was interesting,
It's a cool system. The complexity makes my head spin.

One of the simplest forms of full automation is the barfed, subspindle lathe with parts catcher. It's robust and recovers easily from a [non-crash] e-stop situation, e.g. power outage or low lube alarm. So I like to think of ways of automating a mill to be more similar to automating a lathe.

Anything with a lot of prox sensors and limit switches is prone to false triggers due to coolant and chip contamination. It's an inevitability. I have to manually recover pallet pools and large ATCs on a somewhat regular basis due to false triggers. Sometimes the recovery can be quite complex, requiring me to get into the PMC.

Cool thing about a cobot is that it's dead simple to manually recover. Hit the freedrive button on the pendant and manually (physically) move the robot to a safe location, drop the payload, and start the program back from square one.
 
I assume that if you have in-machine grippers and blank trays that you have to have a pallet changing machine like the brother R series with one pallet having the vise and the other with the blanks or else chips will get all over your blanks every time you cut your part and maybe screw up your automation.
We do in fact have an R650 running a setup like this. Parts tray on one side, 4th axis trunnion on the other with two vises for OP10 and OP20. We flip the part so they come out complete.

You can do the same in a regular VMC, but you'll need a chip fan and will be limited to what you can run and how much you can run before having the manually intervene. Chip fans are good but aren't perfect.
 
Earlier it was implied you can't run automation on a pallet changing hmc. Why not?

Is it just gravity making it harder to load parts?
One of the complexities is plumbing air to the pallet. Most machines have this as a factory option, but the vast majority of machines are not shipped with it. There are work arounds but they aren't simple, and field retrofits can be expensive.

Gravity certainly doesn't help.

In contrast, adding air to a 3-axis VMC, or an air rotary union to a 5-axis trunnion, is quite simple and inexpensive.
 
But if your parts need 5 axis, like a lot of our newer ones do, then unless you have a 5 axis horizontal it wouldn't fix my shops particular parts issues.
(GROB's are expensive :D )
and actually, some of the parts, need a 5 axis, then flipped and 4 or 5 axis on OP2, YUK!
not that you cant do it differently, just maximum efficiency, and maximize work holding during machining.
 
One of the complexities is plumbing air to the pallet. Most machines have this as a factory option, but the vast majority of machines are not shipped with it. There are work arounds but they aren't simple, and field retrofits can be expensive.

Gravity certainly doesn't help.

In contrast, adding air to a 3-axis VMC, or an air rotary union to a 5-axis trunnion, is quite simple and inexpensive.

Gotcha. There's a few different styles of hmc pallet changers. The rotary style is pretty easy to get air or hydraulics to the pallet.
 
Well, we are now out of work for the first time ever. One of the guys pulled the last traveler(s) off the rack this morning.

I've got a PO for about 2 months of work that was issued back in December, but the customer keeps pushing the start date out. At this point I am beginning to get nervous they are going to cancel the job before we start.

Been quoting like a maniac, (all aerospace) but nothing substantial has come in this year. I've never made a sales call before... :o
 
One of the complexities is
I’ve look into the spindle grippers but must not be looking at the right place. Everything I have seen are very simple 2 dimensional parts.

What I am not smart enough to figure out is how to flip parts in the machine using spindle grippers, for a part with complexity, requiring multiple ops. A 5 axis certainly solves that, but I’m talking about utilizing a 3 axis.

I genuinely believe this will be the future of machining, at least for me and my company. Problem is making it affordable, easy enough, robust enough, flexible enough to be quickly and easily setup, for a 90 part order worth $10k, comprising 6 similar parts. That will never be made again.
 
I’ve look into the spindle grippers but must not be looking at the right place. Everything I have seen are very simple 2 dimensional parts.

What I am not smart enough to figure out is how to flip parts in the machine using spindle grippers, for a part with complexity, requiring multiple ops. A 5 axis certainly solves that, but I’m talking about utilizing a 3 axis.

I genuinely believe this will be the future of machining, at least for me and my company. Problem is making it affordable, easy enough, robust enough, flexible enough to be quickly and easily setup, for a 90 part order worth $10k, comprising 6 similar parts. That will never be made again.
Spindle grippers aren't a great substitute for multi-axis positioning. I haven't measured centerline accuracy on a gripper but it's gotta be at least a couple thou out in multiple directions. Fingers are flexy and they don't provide much clamping force, so parts can and do slip a little. It's really up to the workholding and subsequent probing to do any sort of accurate locating.

Can you add rotaries to your machines and at least get 3+1?
 
Spindle grippers aren't a great substitute for multi-axis positioning. I haven't measured centerline accuracy on a gripper but it's gotta be at least a couple thou out in multiple directions. Fingers are flexy and they don't provide much clamping force, so parts can and do slip a little. It's really up to the workholding and subsequent probing to do any sort of accurate locating.

Can you add rotaries to your machines and at least get 3+1?
The company I used to work for primarily built production material handling, feed systems, pick and places, everything from robots to vibratory feed systems. I machined a lot of grippers for various projects. Grabbing a part and maintaining control for the handshake is essential, and in my opinion, requires a fair amount of experience and black magic. For me it would just take a fair amount of experimentation, as I have neither experience nor black magic.

I've got a rotary, albeit old fashioned, that I use for many parts, because indexing them gets me 4 sides and the face depending on part construction. With my own products, I need to be able to machine side 1, the face of the cylinder, then flip to the opposite face, before loading it into the rotary. Once in the rotary, it gets machined on 5 "faces" or indexes.

I haven't seen a method to "flip" a part, the turn 90 to load into an indexer.
 








 
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