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AUTOMATION


Taking machine tool automation to the next level


SMART WORKPIECE HANDLING


I


ntended to boost the productivity of machining centres and reduce labour costs in factories, a new range of workpiece handling cells is now


available.


Te systems are designed to allow components to be clamped manually onto pallets, automatically loaded into store and subsequently retrieved for robotic transfer into and out of three-, four- and five-axis prismatic metalcutting machines. Such arrangements are ideal for long periods of unattended and lights- out running and hence for extracting maximum value from investment in machine tools when producing parts in small to medium size batches. Te cells are manufactured by


Engineering Data in France and sold in


An Engineering Data EasyBox T30 rotary robotic pallet handling and loading system from 1st MTA


the UK and Ireland by 1st Machine Tool Accessories. Te modular handling systems, which feature easy access for maintenance, are said to increase production output from non-pallet-change machining centres by up to 50%. Te control software and touchscreen graphical user interface, which can be operated wirelessly from a tablet, are especially easy to use and allow deskilling of the machine loading function. Half a day’s training is all that is needed for an operator to become conversant with a system.


The single load/unload station is positioned at an ergonomic height at the front of the store for convenient workpiece clamping and unclamping


STANDARD CUSTOMISED EQUIPMENT Noel Boumediene started Engineering Data 27 years ago to design and manufacture special fixtures. Mainly


hydraulically actuated and with the accent on complex turnkey workholding solutions, they are used widely in the automotive and aerospace sectors as well as in the rail industry and general engineering. In 2012, the company introduced robotic loading and unloading of components and the initiative quickly mushroomed into the production of different automated pallet handling cells under the trade name EasyBox. Tere are already dozens of installations in factories across France and elsewhere. Te first model, L80, appeared on


the market in 2015. It has a linear rail- mounted robot capable of feeding up to six machining centres with workpieces of 80kg maximum weight. Tere are now


www.engineerlive.com 35


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