Staying Competitive with Cutting-Edge Automation Systems
CARR Machine & Tool has witnessed the development of an assortment of technologies over its 50 years in business. The creation of CAD/CAM software has revolutionized our ability to design and manufacture parts. Leaps in workholding efficiency have allowed us to streamline our processes and reduce setup time. The development of 5-axis machining centers has dramatically reduced our costs and improved throughput. And the latest measuring machines have completely changed the way we go about quality control. All of these improvements have played a role in our growth over the past 5 decades, and the latest technology that we have implemented will help us continue to improve our efficiencies and quality. Additionally, it will allow us to compete on a global scale in a variety of industries.
Machine Automation Capabilities with RoboJob USA
When discussing the possibility of adding machine tending robotics to our machine shop, ease of programming was top of mind. Taking the leap to robotics felt as though it would take significant manpower and resources. These concerns led us to believe that taking the jump might not be feasible for our business. Our concerns were immediately addressed by the Mill-Assist Series from RoboJob USA. Utilizing a proven Fanuc robot, the software from RoboJob has allowed us to program a new or existing job in minutes, not hours, and the installation required just days. This ease of setup and operation allows for even faster lead times for our customers. It also allows our employees to enjoy more fulfilling and less mundane tasks.
The Workholding System
It is common and understandable to assume that automation is as simple as purchasing a machine-tending robot. While this would be nice, certain measures, such as the workholding system, have to be put into place to ensure accurate, durable, and consistent workpiece clamping. With this in mind, we decided to implement pneumatic vises from SCHUNK. The KSP3 250 vises are perfect for automation and our part sizes. Once our robot has placed a workpiece into one of these vises, the jaws clamp with a simple signal from the machine control. Additionally, these vises repeat within .002 mm while generating an incredible 55 kN of clamping force. These features give us confidence that our parts are clamped firmly and in the same place every time.
The Final Step to Lights Out Machining
In a machine shop environment, we troubleshoot and improve processes on a daily basis. Tools break, workholding systems fail, coolant leaks, and machines alarm out. With these issues in mind, lights-out machining becomes difficult to picture. We knew we needed unique methods that allowed us to get on top of current and potential failures, even when we weren’t in front of the machine control.
Our machine monitoring software, Amper, became the solution. Amper not only identifies and alerts us when machines are down or aren’t working efficiently, but it also displays this information to our team in real time. Using our own management board, we can quickly get a grasp on our efficiency levels, our quality levels, the reason a machine is down, and much more. These tools allow us to deliver parts to our customers with higher levels of quality and at much faster rates.
Automation For Low Quantity Orders
When we think automation, we tend to exclusively think about high-volume production. While there is of course a place for automation in this area of manufacturing, we have new systems in place for even low-volume/prototyping orders. Our new DN Solutions, formally known as Doosan, DVF5000 has a brand new Trinity Automation pallet pool that allows us to plan and set up jobs offline, all while the spindle is running. Our model, the AX5, includes 40 pallet locations along with a Fanuc robot. This amount of pallets allows us to fill a variety of orders without having to manually change setups.
At CARR, we will continue to invest our profits into making the company even more successful and competitive through various forms of technology. Don’t forget to reach out to our team if you want more information or have any questions!