Automating low volume/high mix lathe work. - Page 3
Close
Login to Your Account
Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 41 to 57 of 57
  1. #41
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Near Seattle
    Posts
    4,483
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2610
    Likes (Received)
    1127

    Default

    and of course robots are driven by software, and we all know how easy it is to keep that running over time, understand it in the future, and so on...

    how hard can it be??

    there is a multi billion dollar industry devoted to making it easier, wonder if that is an omen....

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    New York
    Posts
    850
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    731
    Likes (Received)
    663

    Default

    As usual, I'm with Tony on most all things 'Automation' - I have a different background than he does (I'm a full-time automation engineer, but I work almost exclusively with custom machine projects in the automated assembly industry) and I also happen to own a small shop of my own.

    I think the first thing to know, which is absolutely critical, is that you're going to either need to hire someone who knows automation, contract it out, or commit to sending someone for robot training, and probably PLC training (at an absolute minimum.) Tony downplays just how unique he is, and how talented, but the number of people out there who can design and integrate a robotic automation cell for a CNC machine, and do it well, is extremely limited. Lots of folks can do a piece, or two, or the big piece, but finding an idvidual who has a great understanding of both the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering aspects, as well as fixture design, robot programming, EOAT design, and PLC programming (and doing it all in a way that is SAFE)....well, you're better off chasing the gold at the end of the rainbow.

    If you think it's something you can just buy the pieces and figure it out - well, you'll wind up looking like a YouTube machinist who has no clue what they're doing. Except the CNC programming part of these projects is definitely not the hardest part. And there are a lot more parts.

    And if you're going to invest half a million dollars or so on automation equipment, then think you'll save money by trying to integrate it in house, I'd suggest not doing it at all. I just visited a customer in Buffalo who is attempting this on a palletizer line (it doesn't get much easier) and is now paying our guys to fix all the mistakes they made, which pretty much involves going back to the start. It would have been significantly cheaper for them to buy the palletizer cell from us.

    Have I sufficiently scared you yet, while proving what a superior d-bag I am?

    Seriously, I love seeing shops get into automation. It's what I do, after all. But you're asking the question a TON of shops are asking right now: how do we automate our job shop? It's a great question, and I'm not sure anybody in the industry has a good answer yet. I've been looking at it for the last 2 years, both as part of my full-time job, and how I would automate my own shop, and have yet to find a great answer.

    Honestly, with all the 'built-in' automation capabilities already in a lot of newer lathes, you'll be hard pressed to add much with a robot, especially considering you'll have to integrate that, versus buying a bar feeder, tool changer, part catcher ,sub-spindle, live-tooling, etc. that all comes in the same box.

    If you want to see cool ways to use that UR on equipment that doesn't have any of those features, check out Mr. Rudolph's Instagram. Instead of buying servo doors, wiring into the controller, etc. you just make the robot do it all. Hence the appeal of URs.

    I would seriously recommend having an automation company come in and do an 'automatability' study. I bet if you reached out to MotionGuru (who has experience in this field and is in the Pacific NorthWest) he could either recommend someone, or give you an idea of a price to evaluate the project.

    This is normally where I pitch myself for this type of work, but you're on the opposite coast and I'm busier than I can handle right now. But if you want to reach out via email for a sanity check, I'm happy to help out here and there as I am able.

  3. Likes Gobo, digger doug, Jashley73 liked this post
  4. #43
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Florida
    Posts
    2,227
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1093
    Likes (Received)
    1122

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dstryr View Post
    Low volume high mix... is it going to be slug work or bar work?

    If its slug I'd look at a Nakamura NTRX300. Should be able to get 120 tools and the B axis allows simple roughing turning holders so many clearance angle positions. I wouldn't mess with a B axis with a lower turret for low volume high mix. I dont think the setup time / managing the lower turret tool positions is worth the hassle for this application.

    if its bar I'd want the biggest bar capacity you could get within reason so I'd choose the Mazak integrex i100 bartec machine.

    The key here is reducing the human input to change over jobs. Do you have the capacity to dovetail your raw stock? This would allow you to load slugs of many different sizes / lengths with 1 fixture that wouldn't change and it would give you great gripping force with maximum clearance. Its a lot cheaper to leave a vise setup in a vertical and prep some small quantities of blanks than change chuck jaws IMHO
    Are you talking dovetailing round bar stock? Have you done this, or know anyone? Just curious as I have never seen it before, but it sounds brilliant! (assuming you have a 'v' or something to keep the stock from spinning..)
    I think wheelie actually showed a picture one time of using talon grips, or a modified bolt head counterbored into chuck jaws to do something similar...

  5. Likes dstryr liked this post
  6. #44
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    55
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    20
    Likes (Received)
    21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny SolidWorks View Post
    .
    If you want to see cool ways to use that UR on equipment that doesn't have any of those features, check out Mr. Rudolph's Instagram. Instead of buying servo doors, wiring into the controller, etc. you just make the robot do it all. Hence the appeal of URs.
    Thanks for the plug :-)

    It’s a slog trying to run a 2-man shop and design/engineer/implement automation projects, I have two solid projects that have freed me up from machine tending. It does rely on a steady stream of repeat work. URs are the closest thing to the holy grail out there right not but not “it” yet.

  7. Likes Johnny SolidWorks liked this post
  8. #45
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,241
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    403
    Likes (Received)
    734

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dstryr View Post

    if its bar I'd want the biggest bar capacity you could get within reason so I'd choose the Mazak integrex i100 bartec machine.
    We have a Bartac. Nice machine, but would not buy another. The main spindle is limited to 2000 rpm max. If your process is cycle time driven, that can murder you.

  9. #46
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Gilroy CA
    Posts
    4,308
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    3097
    Likes (Received)
    2332

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    Are you talking dovetailing round bar stock? Have you done this, or know anyone? Just curious as I have never seen it before, but it sounds brilliant! (assuming you have a 'v' or something to keep the stock from spinning..)
    I think wheelie actually showed a picture one time of using talon grips, or a modified bolt head counterbored into chuck jaws to do something similar...
    Yes I’ve mounted a dovetail fixture off my 5th axis onto my 6” lathe and turned square blanks round


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #47
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Country
    NORWAY
    Posts
    831
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    298
    Likes (Received)
    170

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gobo View Post
    We have a Bartac. Nice machine, but would not buy another. The main spindle is limited to 2000 rpm max. If your process is cycle time driven, that can murder you.
    Very good point there, I was thinking a Bartac would be nice since that leaves pretty large pieces (in this case) for chucking and those would probably have long enough cycle time that the automation doesn't pay off for the low volume. The smaller pieces could be run on a normal 2-spindle with a barfeeder. Anyway: a Quick Turn 350MSY also has 102mm bar capacity and it has 3300rpm, so that would work. Now it is just a case of getting the management to understand..

  11. #48
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,616
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2376
    Likes (Received)
    294

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gobo View Post
    We are a product shop that does LOTS of R and D with a huge mix of low volume production pars. Management wants automation on all new equipment we purchase. I have been instructed to begin researching a machine which will be purchased mid 2019. In particular, a CNC lathe in the 15 -20 HP spindle range, main and sub spindles (probably 8 and 6 inches) 2 to 2.5 inch spindle bore, Y axis and live tooling. No cheapo equipment wanted, something in the line of Mori or Mazak quality. No difficult material to machine, maybe a little stainless but mostly mild steels and aluminum. 20ish inch Z axis work envelope. Cost is, as always, important, but not a major driving factor. We currently have 17 CNC lathes some with barfeeders, some use barpullers. Several have part catchers. One has an integral unloading arm and parts accumulator. One machine has a gantry loader. We recently purchased our first UR10 and are awaiting delivery.
    I cant help but think the low/volume - high mix situation will pose a challenge to automation. Other than the aforementioned automation we are already using, what would you recommend we consider? What words of wisdom are out there?
    I do realize that automation solely for the sake of automating might not be the best approach, but this is what I have been told to do.
    It would be easy to justify a bar feeder for that new lathe in case you get real busy and need that output.
    that Arm is pretty neat. On your lathes how many are you using on them? Are you guys running a night shift also? You are the only person I have visited with in person or on PM who is Automating. Seems almost a waste to order a lot of extra Automation on small runs of R&D type parts for that machine. If your boss is pushing on this now is the time to investigate what is out there and go and order some more equipment. Have you been able with your 17 lathes to cut some personnel expense by using Automation so far?

  12. #49
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,241
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    403
    Likes (Received)
    734

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Spinit View Post
    It would be easy to justify a bar feeder for that new lathe in case you get real busy and need that output.
    that Arm is pretty neat. On your lathes how many are you using on them? Are you guys running a night shift also? You are the only person I have visited with in person or on PM who is Automating. Seems almost a waste to order a lot of extra Automation on small runs of R&D type parts for that machine. If your boss is pushing on this now is the time to investigate what is out there and go and order some more equipment. Have you been able with your 17 lathes to cut some personnel expense by using Automation so far?
    We purchased a Mazak lathe with a part carousel and loading arm in the late 80's. WSe used it off and on for a couple of years until it quit working correctly and we were unable to get it functioning again. The UR robot we are awaiting delivery will be the only robot we have for machine tending. We currently run 2 ten hour shifts, with a third weekend shift. Like other shops, we are somewhat being forced into automation because of the skilled worker shortage. And because of the lack of workers who are willing ( or able ) to invest the time in learning a trade. We have very successfully automated two of our high production lathes, one runs completely unattended, the other mostly so. We use bar feeders and bar pullers on several other machines. We will use the UR robot on lathe projects to begin with, and then will work on using it on the milling side. We are working with an integrator to get our feet wet, then will use our own team for following projects. We also do an enormous amount of welding, and plan on automating that portion of our work.

  13. #50
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,616
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2376
    Likes (Received)
    294

    Default

    Sorry about the worker shortage. A lot of people are done with the usual work in favor of going to pasture. It is still tough.

  14. #51
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,616
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2376
    Likes (Received)
    294

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gobo View Post
    We purchased a Mazak lathe with a part carousel and loading arm in the late 80's. WSe used it off and on for a couple of years until it quit working correctly and we were unable to get it functioning again. The UR robot we are awaiting delivery will be the only robot we have for machine tending. We currently run 2 ten hour shifts, with a third weekend shift. Like other shops, we are somewhat being forced into automation because of the skilled worker shortage. And because of the lack of workers who are willing ( or able ) to invest the time in learning a trade. We have very successfully automated two of our high production lathes, one runs completely unattended, the other mostly so. We use bar feeders and bar pullers on several other machines. We will use the UR robot on lathe projects to begin with, and then will work on using it on the milling side. We are working with an integrator to get our feet wet, then will use our own team for following projects. We also do an enormous amount of welding, and plan on automating that portion of our work.
    Yeah it will move that direction for a bit. My last boss went and got a huge degree in manufacturing and automation. He even converted or helped as a intern one factory seven hundred workers and set the plant from front where raw material was loaded it flowed through each mechanical op until at the end the finished product was finished and ready to ship. Three to five guys run the thing. Essentially the CNC machines are the first step to super precise super repeatable automation of course. They replaced the need for many Machinists. Many are moving into lathes with live tooling VDI which eliminates a bit of milling type operations. The live tooling on these are not as rigid as they are driven on the tool carousel.

    Plus a Integrex just blows it away for versatility and rigidity. Mazak s are the ultimate Job Shop CNC also their quality,accuracy,and the fact it is really more a Machinists machine since a lot of shops use the machinist on that machine to do it all setup and programming. To get more done more people are buying Horizontal Mills a plenty. Also with five axis mills they can save a lot of extra setups. Even Dual turns are very good especially if they are set carefully at the change of the part from first chuck to second they move and do the exchange in the middle. Automation I could see it get complicated especially with repair and maintenance on the equipment.

  15. #52
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,241
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    403
    Likes (Received)
    734

    Default

    Automating high volume work is simple. It is the low volume stuff that is the REAL challenge.

  16. Likes Spinit, Johnny SolidWorks liked this post
  17. #53
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Southeastern US
    Posts
    6,325
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    797
    Likes (Received)
    2715

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gobo View Post
    Automating high volume work is simple. It is the low volume stuff that is the REAL challenge.
    I'll agree. I've done several systems where the order might be 4 pcs and the next order may be 50 pcs. The challenge with low volume is getting the parameters correct to being with. You cannot make a system that will run anything that comes through the door. There has to be limits (an envelope) as to what size / shape / weight / etc.

  18. Likes Gobo, Spinit liked this post
  19. #54
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,616
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2376
    Likes (Received)
    294

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bryan_machine View Post
    and of course robots are driven by software, and we all know how easy it is to keep that running over time, understand it in the future, and so on...

    how hard can it be??

    there is a multi billion dollar industry devoted to making it easier, wonder if that is an omen....

    Yes there definitely is a lot of industry to support it. I wonder since it may be the case that across the board all scenarios are not profitable enough to waste the investment. Gobo’s gives a very good example of where it may not be a best suited prospect for automation beyond just the CNC machine. In situations like his the focus becomes doing your best and taking your time not to scrap any parts and proving out your program and processes. Sometimes the best you can do is to set your best run for that part right and benefit by having that crucial part of the process proven and working.


    There are better and worse situations in manufacturing and I know one glove may not fit all. The first thing to watch is whether the job was not underbid. I see so many examples of prudent steps to decrease run time while improving the process of making a part. I often wonder it it may be a losing situation from the start due to underbidding. If that is the basic problem then all efforts to manage better or motivate people are missing the basic problem. The adjustment or solution must be the right target.

    It would seem lots of production may be a obvious qualifier. Yet then you must still make better profits and parts after your investment. Otherwise you find your self asking what your satisfiers are and whether to enjoy the work because someone says money does not matter nor pay. Ha um No.

  20. #55
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Ohio
    Posts
    4
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Default

    READY Robotics makes a cool system that is great for low volume/high mix. And I think they rent monthly.

  21. #56
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,241
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    403
    Likes (Received)
    734

    Default

    Piss off ass-face.

  22. #57
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    11,692
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    18349
    Likes (Received)
    6169

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RobotGuy22 View Post
    READY Robotics makes a cool system that is great for low volume/high mix. And I think they rent monthly.
    Thank you for copy/pasting the very same response in all of your SPAM.

    Makes it much easier to track your.....shoveling.

  23. Likes Gobo liked this post

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
2