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Flexible machining systems to make Army vehicle parts.

In a few months, a new, $8-million flexible machining system (FMS) will go into operation at the Aiken, SC, plant of FMC Corp's Ordnance Div, headquartered in San Jose, CA. Part of the division's long-range technology-implementation program, the FMS will initially turn out a family of 17 parts for the drivetrain and chassis of the US Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicles (Figure 1). Later on, the FMS will also produce parts for the Fighting Vehicle Systems Carrier (Figure 2), which has the same drivetrain and chassis as the Bradley.

FMC Corp plans to run the FMS three shifts a day, five days a week, with a minimum of 70 percent uptime. At th is rate the system will produce about 60 shipsets of parts a month. Part sizes will range from 8" X 8" up to 30" X 30". Room for expansion

Now being installed, the FMS (Figure 3) is being provided by the Manufacturing Systems Div of Cincinnati Milacron, Cincinnati, OH. Initially, four Milacron Model 20HC CNC machining centers (Figure 4) will perform 23 different machining operations, but floor space has been allowed for later addition of three more Model 20HCs.

Each machining center is equipped with automatic pallet delivery and discharge, Milacron's Acramtic computer controls, and automatic tool changing with on-machine storage of up to 90 tools.

Horizontal transport of parts pallets and replacement tools will be provided by three Model XKL automatic wireguided vehicles (Figure 5). Built by Eaton-Kenway, Salt Lake City, UT, these vehicles have on-board provision for automatic pallet transfer. Center articulation allows the vehicles to easily negotiate dips and rises in the floor. Parts indexed in two planes

An innovative feature in this FMS is the design of the two load/unload stations, which afford relatively easy handling of even the larger parts.

"These stations enable the operator to index parts in two planes," say G James Dunlap, marketing manager for Milacron's Manufacturing Systems Div. "Using the station, the operator can lift the pallet, tilt it through 90 degrees for loading or unloading, and rotate it through 360 degrees for bolting and umbolting of parts, and for removal of chips. This is the first time we've incorporated this design in an FMS."

Queuing and overflow of palleted parts will be handled by two standard 10-pallet Milacron automatic work changers (Figure 6). Use of the changers allows for replacing and maintainign fixtures without disruption of work flow.

A Model 340P CNC coordinate measuring machine--provided by DEA Inc, Livonia, MI--will automatically perform selective in-process and postprocess inspection of parts.

For chip removal, each pair of machining centers will be served by a single miniflume. The flumes will discharge to standard chip-collection units, which wil be handled by forklift trucks. Three minicomputers

The entire FMS will be managed by means of a Model PDP 11/44 minicomputer from Digital Equipment Corp, Maynard, MA. Operating under control of this computer, two DEC PDP 11/24 minicomputers will govern the operations of the CNC coordinate measuring machine and the automatic wire-guided vehicle system.

A control office will be installed on a mezzanine near the center of the FMS. Wire-guided vehicles will travel undr the mezzanine.

Software for the FMS consists of a packag eof modules designed by Cincinnati Milacron. Included are programs for work-order processing, fixture staging, load/unload staging, parts routing, vehicle traffic management, remote job entry, and batch scheduling.

Another software module enables simulation of system operation. FMC Corp will use this capability to optimize start-up, adn to respond quickly to unplanned events such as changes in parts design, processing sequence, and batch size.

According to Dunlap, start-up of the FMS is planned for September.
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Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Jul 1, 1984
Words:607
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