ABB Robotics (Auburn Hills, MI) offers the FlexMT™, a flexible, pre-engineered system designed to load and unload machine tools using vision guided robotics. Designed for both small batch and high volume production, the FlexMT increases spindle utilization by up to 60 percent over manual machine tending. The system can handle most any size and type of part, and is compatible with a wide range of machine tools, including horizontal and vertical lathes, machining centers, 5-axis machines and grinders.
The FlexMT comes equipped with a choice between a two- or three-finger gripper, and both an infeed and outfeed conveyor. With six standard plug-and-play options, including two separate deburring tools, a re-grip table, a needle marking unit, a turn station, and an air cleaning box, the modular system is capable of handling a variety of additional manufacturing operations.
Available in two variants: the FlexMT 20, which features an IRB 2600 robot with a 20 kg payload and a 1.65 m reach; and the FlexMT 60, which features an IRB 4600 robot with a 60 kg payload and a 2.05 m reach. The turnkey automation system comes complete with a robot controller inside its fully integrated control cabinet, providing easy and precise control of the robot, vision, conveyors and machine tool.
The system is easy, fast and flexible to set up and program and can give small and medium size companies a higher degree of automation. By facilitating a steady and predictable machine tool utilization of up to 90 percent, the FlexMT increases the approximate 50 percent spindle utilization of manual machine tending by as much as 60 percent. This provides a sustainable competitive advantage and a ROI in many cases of less than a year. Additional system benefits include:
- Reduced operational cost and complexity: The vision guidance component reduces operational cost and complexity by allowing the FlexMT to recognize variations in part size and geometrical shape, and enabling it to pick and place parts that are presented on the conveyor in differing positions. The FlexMT can be used with existing machine tools and can run free from operator supervision for up to eight hours.
- Easy system set-up and programming: Control and communications with the robot are tightly integrated into the software, providing a very simple and intuitive set-up and teach-in. With one of the easiest to use operator interfaces on the market, teaching of a new part is possible in less than ten minutes.
- Improved health and safety: The self-contained nature of the FlexMT improves working conditions by drastically reducing workplace injury related to heavy lifting, exposure to hazardous conditions including the presence of coolants, sharp edges, burrs, tooling and other dangers.
ABB Robotics is a leading supplier of industrial robots, robot software, peripheral equipment, modular manufacturing cells and service for tasks such as welding, handling, assembly, painting and finishing, picking, packing, palletizing and machine tending. Key markets include automotive, plastics, metal fabrication, foundry, electronics, machine tools, pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. The company has installed more than 200,000 robots worldwide.
ABB Robotics, 1250 Brown Road, Auburn Hills, MI 48326, 248-391-9000, www.abb.com/robotics.
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