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On Manufacturing (10/2016)



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Collaborative Robot for Assembly


One of the trends in assembly automation is the use of collaborative robots, and one that you should know about has been at work in small consumer electronics applications for the past several months, a dual-arm robot from ABB named “YuMi” (as in “you” and “me”—the whole collaborative nature). Each of the magnesium arms that are covered with a soft plastic casing has seven axes of motion. There is camera-based part location and precise motion control. It can move—the maximum velocity is 1,500 mm/sec—and return to the same point in space within 0.02 mm. Not only does the padding help protect the human workers that the robot can work in close proximity with (no fences or cages required), but in the event that the robot encounters an unexpected object, motion stops within milliseconds.

The reach of YuMi—or, more technically, IRB 14000-0.5/0.5—is 500 mm; the payload capacity (remember, this was developed for electronic assembly) is 500 g.

The unit is readily programmed and in addition to factory HMI devices (e.g., ABB’s teach pendant, industrial displays), it can even be hooked up to tablets and smartphones.

Modularly Configured Grinding Machine



The smartLine is a modular grinding machine from Elb-Schliff. This means that components can be put together such that there is flexibility in configuration for surface grinding and complex profile grinding.

The unit features a two part machine base made of a cast mineral; it is bonded during the final production process, after the machine configuration has been set. The mineral casting assures that there is vibration damping, important in grinding operations, as well as high thermal stability.

There are front and back parts of the machine that can be assembled such that there is the ability to select from three different grinding widths and four different grinding lengths.

Other elements that can be selected for the smartLine grinder include linear guides and flat guides, ballscrews, toothed belts and hydraulic drives. There is an array of grinding spindles that can be selected. Also types of dressers include fixed single-point diamond, overhead, and multi-axis table.

Tooling for Ultra-Cold—and Fast—Machining


Cryogenic machining is a process that, according to the folks from 5ME, which has developed a patented process that transmits liquid nitrogen at -321°F through the spindle/turret and tool body to the cutting tool edge, permits higher cutting speeds for faster material removal rates than can be achieved with conventional machining methods (and temperatures).

What’s more, it has environmental advantages because it eliminates the need for water- or oil-based coolants. In addition to which, because there’s less wear on the cutting edge, there can be a significant increase in overall tool life.

Applications for cryogenic machining include tough-to-cut alloys.

However, compared with conventional machining processes, the number of tools available to accomplish cryogenic machining is comparatively limited. So it is notable that 5ME and Star SU have entered into a licensing agreement through which Star SU can produce end mills, ball mills, tapered ball mills, thread mills, reamers and drills that are based on 5ME’s patented tooling designs. These new tools are available under the name “BlueZone.”
5me.com; star-su.com 


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