A Big, Capable, Multifunctional Machine
Chances are you don’t have too many workpieces that are 8,000 mm (315 in.) long. Or that you need a 1,500-mm (26.25-in.) swing diameter. But if you do, then the MC-Series of machines from Niles-Simmons-Hegenscheidt Group (smtgroup.com/nsh-group) can readily handle your requirements. The machines are offered as a single- or multiple-slide machine. They can perform multi-axis machining, gear shaping, turn-milling, contour milling, external circular milling, turning, deep-hole drilling, grinding, threading, shaping, hobbing, in-process gaging, and ID turning and boring. They are available with direct- or gear-driven components. Modularly expandable tool magazines. They’re ergonomically designed for both operation and maintenance. They offer real-time collision avoidance. They can be integrated with automatic loading and production lines. All of which is to say they can handle big jobs—and plenty of them.
Saving Time In Counterboring and Precision Boring Ops
In order to get as much productivity out of your equipment as you can, chances are you’ve deployed a quick-change tooling approach. One such approach is the Capto interface, which is commonly being used on lathes, machining centers, and multitasking machines. Walter (walter-tools.com/us) is now offering Capto adaptors to its line of precision boring and counterboring tools. The interface is clamped using a conical polygon with a small cone angle so there is both a high clamping force and a good support face, with forces evenly distributed around the circumference of the polygon. The connection is backlash-free and self-centering. The connections are available in five coupling sizes. Walter offers twin-insert boring tools with versions handling holes from 0.787 to 25.17 in. (20 to 640 mm); precision boring tools including solid carbide and single-insert tools for holes of the same dimensions; and Walter PrecisionDIGITAL tools, single-edge tools for holes with a diameter of 0.118 to 4.882 in. (3 to 124 mm).
Small But Capable Robots
While you might want to have operations such as assembly cells to have a small footprint, you still are going to want to have high productivity. Which is clearly what ABB Robotics (abb.com/robotics) had in mind during the development of its IRB 1200 family of robots. The robots come in two standard variants. There is one with a 700-mm (27.5-in.) reach and a payload up to 7 kg (15.4 lb) and another with a 900-mm (35.4-in.) reach and a payload up to 5 kg (11 lb). The robots can be mounted at any angle. Even inverted in the case of the smaller model. The IRB 1200 is designed with no offset in axis two, which means that the robot can be positioned very close to the workpiece and still provide functionality. ABB calculates size, the robot permits a 15% smaller work cell than is the norm. Yet given the capability of the equipment, there can be a 10% shorter cycle time than comparable robots. All wiring and air are routed through the inside of the robot, from near the wrist flange to the foot. Both variants share the same parts, so they are cost-effective to operate and maintain. Applications that the robot is engineered for include material handling, CNC machine tending, polishing and dispensing, and small parts assembly.
To prepare the Ford Kentucky Truck Plant to launch the Lincoln Navigator and the Ford Expedition last fall, Ford invested approximately $900-million in the facility, putting in more than 400 new robots (mainly in the body shop), creating a robot lab to support all of that automation, installing a data analytics hub that allows supervisors and workers to be more efficient, and even a 3D printer to quickly and cost-effectively create tooling. “The response from customers regarding our new full-size SUVs has been exceptional,” said Joe Hinrichs, president, Global Operations, so Ford is investing an additional $25-million in the plant to help amp up the production of the vehicles.
The Hyundai Motor Group is directing some of its attention and resources toward the development of robotic technology, which includes wearable robots, service robots and micromobility.