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AUTOMATION


operation, a Brand Y machine for a tight tolerance application, a Zoller with automatic tool offsets writing to a chip, a CMM, a wash station, and a deburr system, all fully integrated,” said Suica. “Our software would even automatically manage tool offsets and the inspection data.” Some of these options require a robot in one or more stations, or replacing the traditional FMS vehicle with a robot on rails. Einberger said Makino offers the latter hybrid “as an answer to some requirements, primarily in the aerospace structural arena. Some of these customers want to autoload parts into a machine using a robot on a rail because they want the advantage of being able to start by loading the part onto a flat surface, and then take the subfixture and load it into a horizontal machining center. “This approach is also very advantageous on multi- operation parts where the first operation may be a four-axis operation and the second operation is a five-axis operation within the same machining center,” he continued. “So pallet one on the machining center would be a four-axis tombstone


that accepts the part on a subplate, while the second pallet on the same machining center would be on a fifth-axis table that accepts the same part on the same subplate for a subsequent five-axis operation. The robot on rail systems bridge the gap between a pallet-handling FMS and a discrete part-handling robot.”


On the other hand, Baldizzi cautioned that getting one kind of flexibility causes you to lose another. “We’re starting to see the demand to adapt to different pallets, like performing some functions on a horizontal and others on a five axis machine with turning capabilities, requiring a different pallet. The plus is you can put all these machines you need to perform the operation on the FMS. The minus is you lose some of the flexibility of the FMS because the software has to make sure that this pallet only goes on this particular machine at this particular time. Whereas if you have multiple machines on an FMS that are all the same, the work that’s bolted onto a pallet can go any- where, anytime, anyhow.”


72 AdvancedManufacturing.org | August 2017


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