ROBO-TEND from XYZ Machine Tools is a robot-based automation cell with camera vision that brings true robot automation within the reach of traditional sub-contract engineering businesses. ROBO-TEND is fully compatible with the Siemens ShopMill and ShopTurn controls used on XYZ’s VMC’s and turning centres.
Central to the system is the KUKA Cybertech KR10 R1420 robot, with a rated total load of 10kg (larger capacity robots are available), managed via the KUKA KRC4 compact robot controller. This operates within a moveable compartment attached to the drawer system, where billets and finished parts are stored. This mobility means that ROBO-TEND is not restricted to one machine, it can be relocated to wherever it is needed in the factory. A camera vision system makes use of Fiducial markers on up to four vices on the table of a machining centre along with similar markers in the component storage drawers. This means that positioning of components or vices is not critical for efficient functioning of the system.
Typically, there are four storage drawers with each drawer holding a maximum of 90 kg of material, with a maximum billet height of 120 mm. If access is required to the machine table for setting or maintenance purposes, the robot is positioned in a safe parking position and becomes in-operative, allowing ease of access. If greater access is required, ROBO-TEND can be disconnected and wheeled away utilising its modular and mobile features.
ROBO-TEND’s interface makes programming the automation process as easy as possible as the operator simply enters the dimensions of the billets, whether they are round or square, the control calculates the location pin positions within the drawers, along with optimum stack height. ROBO-TEND then communicates with the Siemens control to select the correct part programme and unmanned operation can commence. Automation is now fast, straightforward and affordable for all, with payback possible in just a few months of operation calculated if purchased outright, or the option of finance from £2.00/hour.
“Robot automation is nothing new, but the perception is that it is only suitable for high volume production environments. The XYZ ROBO-TEND addresses this perception making automation viable for lower volume production,” says Nigel Atherton, Managing Director XYZ Machine Tools. “The driver for this development is the lack of skilled labour, an issue that will not disappear. Automation of lower skilled jobs, such as machine loading, is an obvious way of addressing this for small to medium sized businesses. We are confident, that with our partner Adelphi Automation we have created a solution to that will open automation to a much wider audience at a very competitive price. Depending on the component ROBO-TEND can be left unattended for a full shift, or even operate 24/7 with the only manual intervention being to restock the raw material in the part storage system. Here customers have the option of a second drawer system, which can be pre-loaded and ready to slot into place to further improve set-up time and logistics.”