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Minding and Safeguarding the Machine Shop

Machine tending robots and equipment guard systems assist your facility in increasing production output in a secure environment.

Posted: November 18, 2021

Made4CNC’s fully electric Safedoor SD100 has built-in safety functions that enable the integrator to adjust the speed of the CNC door, making risk assessments easier to conduct.
The small, versatile and extremely fast GP4 robot is the smallest in Yaskawa Motoman’s GP-series product line.
The GP280L can be floor-mounted and has an IP67-rated wrist and IP54 body standard.
UR’s ActiNav picks randomized parts and places them correctly in designated places.
ActiNav is a next generation solution for flexible machine loading.
The robot cell is flexible, regardless of the robot, and users can choose from a number of robots to match their specific needs.
The LoadMate Plus can be mounted next to one machine, between two machines, or moved around a facility as jobs require.


Machine tending equipment ranges from floor-mounted installations to vision-guided bin picking systems that can accurately insert parts into fixtures. Training is important to the operation of these sophisticated robots to ensure safety and uninterrupted service. Below are some of the latest machine tending robots that will provide your shop with a variety of use applications, flexibility and maximum throughput.

(Odense, Denmark) first official product, the new Safedoor SD100, removes the barriers to the automation of component feeding at machine shops. Safedoor SD100 opens CNC doors that are up to 1 meter wide and weigh 400 kg, at a speed of 500 mm/s. It can connect to any robot and CNC machine make via galvanic insulated digital inputs and outputs. Currently, a small percentage of the industry’s CNC machines are automatically fed components, and most of them rely on either the operator or the robotic arm having to physically open and close the machines’ heavy doors every few minutes. Investing in a new fully automatic CNC machine or upgrading an older model can be a tall order, both in practical and financial terms. Safedoor SD100 offers a solution.

Recently, Made4CNC has entered into an agreement with its first American distributor, Thinkbot Solutions. “I have chosen to distribute SD100 because attention is given to all of the details in terms of the mechanics, software and safety,” said Thinkbot Solutions’ President Philip Courtois, adding that SD100 is certified by the world’s most popular collaborative robot company Universal Robots (UR). “The UR+ certification ensures completely seamless integration with robots from Universal Robots. All operation can be done through the robot’s teach pendant.”

Yaskawa Motoman (Dayton, OH), offers the GP4 robot and the GP280L, which are ideal for a variety of applications including handling and machine tending. The products are part of Yaskawa Motoman’s GP-Series Line.

The GP4 robot is equipped with a 4 kg payload for high-volume small component processing, with axis speeds up to 1,000 degrees/s and incredibly fast acceleration/deceleration control for all robot positions, optimizing overall productivity. The GP4 offers a wide work area for its size, making it a viable 6-axis alternative to SCARA-style robots typically used in electronics, confectionery and small parcel sortation industries. It features a 1,008 mm vertical reach, 550 mm horizontal reach and ±0.01 mm repeatability. A high wrist allowable moment enables accurate and repeatable handling. A compact footprint and slim design enable the GP4 to be placed in proximity to workpieces and other robots, creating flexible and high-density layouts. This model is suitable for applications including assembly, handling, machine tending and packaging.

The extended reach 6-axis GP280L features a 3,114 mm horizontal reach, 3,552 mm vertical reach and ±0.1 mm repeatability, making it well-suited for jigless applications, where the robot positions a part for processing by other robots or two robots handle a single part. Its 280-kg payload accommodates large, heavy components. High moment of inertia ratings enables the easy transfer of heavy payloads, while exceptionally fast axis speeds and acceleration capabilities reduce cycle time for increased production output. The robot’s streamlined upper arm design allows easy access to parts in tight spots and a wide wrist motion range eliminates potential interference with fixtures. A reduced interference design allows it to be placed in proximity to workpieces and other robots for high-density layouts. This model is ideal for applications including handling, cutting, machine tending or press tending.

All GP-Series robots are controlled by the YRC1000 controller, which features a compact cabinet and uses a lightweight teach pendant with intuitive programming.

Universal Robotics’ (UR) (Ann Arbor, MI) ActiNav™ combines intelligent vision and real-time autonomous motion control with the company’s e-Series cobots. Before ActiNav, solutions for unstructured picking and placing of parts into machines were solely focused on the vision aspect, often requiring complex programming to bridge the gap from “pick” to “place” — especially if the “place” is not just dropping into a box but accurately inserting parts into fixtures for further processing.

ActiNav changes all that, combining real-time autonomous motion control, UR cobots, vision and sensor systems in one seamless Application Kit that solves the bin picking challenge in machine tending applications. Powering ActiNav is the new enhanced version of UR’s best-selling UR10e cobot, which now features 25 percent more payload capacity with the ability to lift 12.5 kg (27.55 lbs.), providing customers with exciting new deployment capabilities.

Mitsubishi Electric Automation (Vernon Hills, IL) introduces LoadMate Plus™ to support an increase in production in high-mix, low-volume machine shops, and free up operators through an automation robot cell that can be easily moved for efficient use. The robot cell is targeted towards manufacturers in CNC machine tool applications that find themselves facing a labor crunch, while needing to be more efficient and improve their production. LoadMate Plus can be used with a variety of machine tools including mill, lathe and drilling/tapping.

LoadMate Plus automates the task of loading and removing parts from a machine tool through the use of robotics, and can be mounted next to one machine, between two machines, and otherwise moved around a facility as jobs require. When this cell is paired with Mitsubishi Electric M8 Series CNC, operators can use the Direct Robot Control feature within the CNC controls to also control and program the robot with menus and G-code from the same screen used for the machine tool. No robot programming experience or teach pendant is required, allowing manufacturers to use existing staff to automate and make adjustments.

“Most automation solutions for machine tending rely on either cobots for flexibility, or industrial robots for performance and larger parts,” said Rob Brodecki, services product manager at Mitsubishi Electric Automation. “With LoadMate Plus, users don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. The cell is flexible, regardless of the robot, and users can choose from a number of robots to match a shop’s specific needs. Plus, with an available three-year robot warranty, and Mitsubishi Electric technicians who can service LoadMate Plus, users can ensure that their production will continue uninterrupted.”

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