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Video: Automated Jaw Change In The Work Area With High-tech Centric Vice
Processes such as SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die, tool change in the single-digit minute range) or QCO (Quick Change Over, quick set-up) aim to significantly reduce changeover times because manual changeover takes a lot of time. After machining the last workpiece of a production batch, personnel for changing the clamping jaws are not immediately available. The result: the machine stops. In addition, the process is time-consuming and requires tools to loosen screw connections and reattach them after changing the jaws. SAV automates this process - with the first automated jaw change on a centric vice in the work area.
Reduced set-up times
"This is how we developed the world's first system in which a robot can convert centric vice in machining centers in a few seconds," explains Dr. Stefan Hamm, SAV managing director. The advantages of this revolutionary technology: The unmanned set-up in seconds reduces set-up times at machining centers. In this way, companies can optimize staff deployment and avoid downtimes. With this flexible automation, the share of set-up costs in manufacturing costs is significantly reduced, especially for small lot sizes.
SAV solved this task through the interaction of a robot with the hydraulically operated precision centric vice HS-260 from Hofstetter Device & Mechanical Engineering. In addition to workpiece handling, the robot also takes over the changeover of the clamping device.
System avoids downtimes
Until now, even automated machines stood still at the end of the production batch until the operator was available for the changeover process. Here, the SAV automation starts the set-up independently. Manual jaw change was previously time-consuming and required tools, but now it is fully automatic and unmanned in a few seconds. This means that machine operators are able to operate several machines, which optimizes the use of personnel. Due to the automatic set-up, breaks can now be bridged when changing to the next production lot. This solution is used on horizontal, vertical and 5-axis machining centers.
SAV showed the automated jaw change using the example of the SAV RZ10 robot cell. This automation cell is equipped with a 6-axis robot and can be used for workpiece handling during milling, turning, grinding or eroding. The compact cell stores the workpieces in two sturdy drawers. Thanks to its flexible and modular design, it can be expanded at any time and can operate up to two machine tools.
Integrated PLC control
The robot cell is suitable for complex workpieces with cycle times of over five minutes and a weight of up to three kilograms. If necessary, it also takes on secondary operations such as deburring, assembly, measuring and testing, and can thus reduce further manufacturing costs. In addition, the RZ10 has an integrated PLC control that can be easily integrated and retrofitted at any time thanks to the interface to the machine.
The robot then places the workpieces for milling in a precision centric vice, developed by the Swiss company Hofstetter Device & Mechanical Engineering GmbH. The hydraulically operated Z-tensioner HS-260 can be converted very easily both manually and automatically. The unique selling point is the quick jaw change in combination with the individually adjustable clamping force, depending on the machining situation. The integrated quick-change system enables the automated changing of the clamping jaws with high precision in just a few seconds,”says Rudolf Hofstetter, Managing Director of Hofstetter Device & Mechanical Engineering. (jv)