In today’s robotics market, there are a wide range of standard and collaborative robots available for machine tending, depending of the nature of the application.

Common machine tending applications include lathe and milling machine load and unload, moulding machine top loading, and press tending. The fundamental common design concept in these applications is to maximise the uptime of the primary machine tool – to minimize the unload and load task and or to extend the hours of operation. Automated machine tending offers the benefits of minimizing the cycle time associated with the removal of a part, and insertion of a new one across the full 24 hours in a day – this can be done with minimal errors when integrated with an off the shelf vision system. Automation provides higher speeds of load and unload, resulting in performance improvements in throughput, and increased uptime. Larger parts can present occupational health and safety issues, which can also be avoided using an automated approach to load and unload.

Where required, robots can tend multiple machine tools with the addition of robot rails, increasing their flexibility. The integration of changeover grippers in the design also allows for the robot to handle a range of parts and/or a significant change between pre-machined parts and machined parts without the need for operator intervention.

Specialised software has been designed and developed in house for “batch of one” processing, which allows jobbing shops to enjoy the benefits or robotic machine tending previously only enjoyed my volume production run manufacturers. ASA can offer standard or custom machine tool automation interfaces, as well as complete machine control and operator safety solutions for your machine tending challenges.

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