What limits automation in the machine shop? - Page 3
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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by MC387 View Post
    It is very affordable
    Define affordable.

    And a general question from a robot dummy: All of the videos on the above website show 1 operation on parts only. How would 2, 3 or 4 op parts be handled with a robotic system in a 3 axis mill?

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt_isserstedt View Post
    Just to add to what TonyTN says, you really need a high level of mechatronic thinking to integrate a robot and CNC system for one job let alone a wide variety of jobs.

    Suppose you buy turnkey and its running. Think of the next step when your "manufacturing cell" goes down and won't run the next step, suppose there are no alarms indicating whether the CNC or the robot is the guilty party. Who do you call then? CNC tech? Robot manufacturer? Controls engineer? Just playing the devil's advocate here but it has to be someone who built the system or is fairly skilled in "automation maintenance". Suppose there's a bad prox switch or vacuum generator. Are you going to stock that part in your shop as a backup part or wait being down (or limping along at low volume) for 2-3 days for it to be shipped out?

    I think its simply boils down to cost. The initial investment is high (as compared to another machine). The cost of keeping it running is high due to skilled labor, and the cost of downtime is high which is sort of balanced by the other choice in costs of the number of spare parts you plan to keep in stock. Just in general, the larger the revenue of a shop or factory, the bigger the opportunity to have automation working.
    Exactly. Once a shop generates enough revenue, most constraints are eliminated.

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    I think there are ways for the job shop to get to started with automation that don't cot a fortune but set you up for the thought process needed to deign a robust process. Someone already mentioned bar feeders. On a mill for small parts we have set up trays and grippers used in a toolholder that give you automated loading for about 30 parts for under $10k including work holding. Auto door are another right step. Of course pallet changers on VMC's. Brother even has a gantry loader for the R450 product tooled for about $40k. Start simple and work from there. The easiest are usually the best investments. A barfeeder will increase production about 30%. A pallet changer VMC is similar in results.

    A little vibratory feeder bowl loading.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails imag0358.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Define affordable.

    And a general question from a robot dummy: All of the videos on the above website show 1 operation on parts only. How would 2, 3 or 4 op parts be handled with a robotic system in a 3 axis mill?
    That's easy. Add a 4th axis, and turn that 2/3/4 OP part into a 1/2 OP part. Lets say you have a square/rectangular part that needs all 6-sides machined. If you use the right fixturing, you could run this part in (2) 3-sided OP's.

    img_0321.jpg

    I know this part isn't square, but it give you an idea of how you could get to 3-sides of a square part, setup in a vise, on a 4th-axis trunnion fixture. If you had a double-vise, or even (2) smaller vises, that would fit on your trunnion you could finish that 2/3/4-OP part in 2-OP's easily. Pull the part from OP-10, flip, rotate 90* and load into OP-20...

    If you want to robot-load these parts, then you need to think most about gripping/handling the part. (You also have to add hydraulic/pnuematic clamping...) If a human can load the part, then a robot can do it too. It may be necessary to pull the part from the 1st OP fixture, set it down, un-grip, re-position, and re-grip the part to load in the 2nd OP fixture, but it can be done.

    The devil is in the details though... Is your chip removal rock-solid, or is there a chance for the robot to load the part on-top of a chip that gets stuck in your vise jaws? How to tell? A spindle-probe is one way. I'm sure some of those more experienced with automation have some even more clever/simple/elegant solutions for these problems too...

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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Define affordable.

    And a general question from a robot dummy: All of the videos on the above website show 1 operation on parts only. How would 2, 3 or 4 op parts be handled with a robotic system in a 3 axis mill?
    Round numbers, around $100k. Below is a video of a 5 axis mill being loaded. Shops are running it on a lathe with a sub and live tooling so parts are coming off complete.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEQcY6SUFPY

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jashley73 View Post

    The devil is in the details though... Is your chip removal rock-solid, or is there a chance for the robot to load the part on-top of a chip that gets stuck in your vise jaws? How to tell? A spindle-probe is one way. I'm sure some of those more experienced with automation have some even more clever/simple/elegant solutions for these problems too...
    Who was it on here that had a model airplane prop on a toolholder and would "fly" the prop over the finished part(s), blowing off chips and coolant?

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    $....$....and $

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolroomguy View Post
    Who was it on here that had a model airplane prop on a toolholder and would "fly" the prop over the finished part(s), blowing off chips and coolant?
    They make a tool that does that.....looks like a fan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolroomguy View Post
    Who was it on here that had a model airplane prop on a toolholder and would "fly" the prop over the finished part(s), blowing off chips and coolant?
    I did that. Around $5.00 for the model prop.
    Around $400 for the folding fan. tough choice.

    You can orient the blades so that they are sideways in the tool changer. A 12" blade fits into the Robodrills without any interference, since you can orient the blades to the tool holder.
    Normal blades you need to run the spindle with M4 to blow down onto the part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolroomguy View Post
    Who was it on here that had a model airplane prop on a toolholder and would "fly" the prop over the finished part(s), blowing off chips and coolant?
    Chip & Coolant Fans | BIG KAISER Precision Tooling Inc.

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    cncdave123, thanks for the link to the All Neu Design vises. I love the actuator method. I am going to put that idea in my toolbox.

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    Schunk also offers that type of a vice. Nice units, I've been running some in production since 2011.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidScott View Post
    cncdave123, thanks for the link to the All Neu Design vises. I love the actuator method. I am going to put that idea in my toolbox.
    I'm going to order 1 and try it out. Looks like a great entry design for us small shop guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dstryr View Post
    I'm going to order 1 and try it out. Looks like a great entry design for us small shop guys.
    If you ever pull it apart I would love to see the internal parts. I just got a mill part that has a 15 second cycle so I am looking at making some pneumatic vises for my own needs and the more I can learn from others the less I have to reinvent the wheel. Around 10,000+ parts a year.

    What All Neu makes would not work for this part.

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    I'm doing a similar part right now. 4000 a week 45 second run time which is why I was interests in this vise


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Many shops are loaded with automaton now with bar feeders, tool changers, running multiple operations on a part with one loading. That has cost a bundle with some machines needing to run around the clock to pay the price. Robot part loaders are expensive for one machine because one has to load the loader in many cases. vibration feeders for smaller parts are common for smaller parts. Now with one person loading perhaps 3 machines during run time of the other machines that is low cost automation. The robot is the machine and the computer making the moves.
    So I would say in the small to medium shop robots are there as needed and affordable.
    Do think that with the tool changer technology one could use that thinking to make a standard parts loading system that would bolt up to a standard mounting pad on a machine. Yes it would be for a simple operation and an easily handled and stacked part but still needing a long run or easy adapted to a number of parts. All these kids in school making robot game machines will add much to the robot technology just down the road. *Then we will have to figure how to get rid of all these carbon based creatures taking up space, costing dollars and wasting energy.

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    I saw this one at IMTS. I think the little one is around $200, but it could be a lot more.

    Clean-Tec Cleaning Fan - Lang Technovation co.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jashley73 View Post
    If you want to robot-load these parts, then you need to think most about gripping/handling the part.
    That's the biggest problem I see for a job shop. If you do 200 gear blanks 6.375" diameter 1.25" thick, then 50 shafts 14" long, 2.5" diameter, then 25 castings, 7.5" o.d. but you have to grab them *very* gently from a premachined internal surface ... then oh yeah, on the other end how do you *feed* these totally disparate blanks to the robot ? And who is measuring parts as they come off the machine ? And lathes are easier than mills, right ? Everything in a lathe is round, at least.

    I don't see programming the robot as a problem at all. I see making them do a wide variety of things quickly and easily as a major problem. Especially when you don't even know what's going to come in the front door next Tuesday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pmtool View Post
    I mean of course most of the machines have been automated for years, at least in their metal cutting processes, but I am still opening machine doors, loading, unloading, blowing off parts, measuring etc.

    This is of course in small to medium job shops and even production shops.

    Much of what operators do today is boring and repetitive.

    I could see a robot at every cnc machine for anything but one off or very low quantity work. Especially now that there are robots that don't need cages and can work around people. Even a robot that would open the door, blow off the parts and unclamp and vise would make things faster and simpler for an operator.


    So why do you think there is not more robotics in an average shop? Money, complexity of integration, fear that machines will take over jobs?

    Will we see a major shift in this in say the next 20 or 30 years?
    Yes indeed now welding, machining and metal fabrication jobs are also using robotic automation approach for accuracy and effeciency in the process. It’s a hard job to upgrade an existing production setup and install modern machines to achieve business goals (fast production and maximizing profit) But lots of industries are adopting this new trend. Now they are making investmentments in the robotic automation to improve productivity and operational efficiency. Therefore, we can see a future in robotic automation and this can positively impact economy and negatively impact the job market.

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    ROI mainly.
    Perhaps the perceived risks involved with technology e.g. accuracy and reliability. In some machine shops they would require someone to learn how to program and service new equipment, which might put them off.
    In larger factories, I think reprogramming the robotics quickly and easily to do a wide variety of jobs would be the biggest problem.

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