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Modules build cells.

Today's metalworking cell consists of selected spindle modules or machines grouped around a parts-handling system designed for optimum production of groups of parts-this according to Kingsbury Machine Tool Corp, Keene, NH.

James L Koontz, president, says CNCs and automated toolchanging give the cell a continuing flexibility to handle changes and new parts not yet conceived. The cell includes the fixturing, special tooling, and special machines to complete its group of parts within the cell with minimum queuing time.

The cell applies the same logic to flexible manufacturing that Kingsbury has applied for many years to high-volume dedicated systems. To meet its customers' modern-day needs for flexible cells, the firm developed CNC spindle modules based on long experience in tooling and fixturing. It can now offer a CNC vertical spindle module and a multiple-spindle headchanger module, both with automatic toolchangers. These CNC spindles have been applied successfully on otherwise traditional transfer machines and rotary machines, and also as free-standing production modules or cells.

Kingsbury goes one step further in its concept of CNC flexibility. It combines one or two of these spindles on a base module with loading and unloading from one side (or fully automated) flow-through parts handling. Base modules with their spindles can be used independently or incorporated readily into cells. Modules can also be interconnected into fully automated systems with the flow-through parts-handling option. Each spindle module has its own controller, so it can be removed from its base module and reused alone or with another type of spindle on a different base for longer-term convertability and optimum use of available spindles. Kingsbury calls this concept Hyflex.

The company has recently obtained the AppCon line of vertical turning centers and can now provide dual-spindle, four-axis, CNC vertical-turning-system modules of its own manufacture for metalworking cells and systems.

Mr Koontz believes that Hyflex-type CNC metalworking cells and systems will produce an ever increasing number of the parts made by high-volume manufacturers of the 90s and beyond. He adds that work is well underway both at Kingsbury and at the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (of which he is currently chairman) on improving the capability of these new machines. Among the subjecter investigation are: More rigid construction Vibration control Higher spindle speeds Solid-state cooling Temperature control Motors with higher acceleration New tool materials These areas of research show clearly how important precision, quality assurance, and lost-time factors have become for today's world-class manufacturers. The level of precision required has a direct and immediate effect on flexibility and cost. While CNC has made precision as much a software problem as it is a hardware problem, every element has to approach new levels of perfection for a cell or system to combine flexibility with the precision, speed, and reliability that is being demanded today. For more information, contact Kingsbury Machine Tool Corp, Keene, NH 03431-2059 or circle 309.

Laser glides over fabrication problems

Aerospatiale, St Eloi, France, manufacturer of commercial jet aircraft, has installed a second Laser-dyne 780 Beam DirectorTM to produce aircraft components such as air-conditioning ducting and fuel piping. Both Laserdyne 780 BeamDirector systems have reduced the sheetmetal fabrication cycle up to 80%. Duct fabrication was reduced from 17 operations to seven, with a production cycle reduced from 120 days to 25 days.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:metalworking
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Feb 1, 1991
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