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Show report: 6th EMO - panorama of FMS.

The 6th European Machine Tool Show (EMO), held this September in Hanover, Federal Republic of Germany, set new records for size of exhibition space, number of exhibitors, and number of visitors. Total exhibition space was around 1.7-million sq ft, while 294,000 visitors toured almost 1900 company exhibits assembled from 37 countries. It was a premier machine-tool and metal-working show.

As impressive as these record-setting numbers may be, it was, however, a remarkable exhibition from other viewpoints that are of greater significance. These involve the apparent revival of the European industrial economy and the wide-spread application of advanced manufacturing technology evident throughout the show.

The exhibition was sponsored by the European Committee for the Cooperation of the Machine Tool Industries (CECIMO), and was organized by the German Machine Tool Builders' Association (VDW). CECIMO President Bruno Rambaudi, in remarks at the opening of the show, noted that the technological evolution that is taking place in Europe--as evidence by the degree of technical achievement seen at the show--bears directly on economic growth. He pointed out that the massive introduction of microelectronics into machine tools is significant in that it has brought about not only labor-saving benefits, but also a reduction in capital needs. The number of man-hours per unit of production has not only been reduced, but there has also been a reduction in capital input per product. Moreover, there is an increasing ability to optimize machine productivity, either through automation or by using machines on a greater number of shifts. He feels that innovation and specialization are keys to customizing machine tools to match specific user feeds.

Concurring with Rambaudi's assessment was Berthfold Leibinger, president of the CECIMO Economic Committee, who stated, "The European machine tool industry has finally pulled out of the recession. The economic revival in Europe and the US is having a positive effect in practically all CECIMO countries. The volume of orders has increased considerably, and we can at last expect a real increase in production this year. The improved economic situation will also certainly lead to higher investments in European factories, thus improving our competitive position.

"Europe is also doing well technological terms. Companies have substantially increased expenditures on research and development, and are now in a good position to meet growing demands for automation. Flexible machining modules and complex production systems are part of the product range of European companies."

Emphasis on FMS

As would be expected at any machine tool show, a lot of what was on display represented traditional metalworking technology. There were those machine tools that offered the most economical investment in standard, no-frills, manually operated machining. But special attention was focused on NC machine tools, CNC systems, CAD/CAM systems, and machining centers, as well as flexible manufacturing concepts with a variety of automated workpiece- and tool-handling mechanisms.

By far, the hottest single concept at the show was flexible manufacturing. Machines ranged from stand-alone vertical turning centers and grinding machines with workpiece-changing devices to machining centers with pallet changers. Machining-center and turning-center cell arrangements offered a great variety of workpiece- and tool-changing concepts. While space limitations precluded showing extensive flexible-manufacturing systems, many companies made it clear that their capabilities ranged far beyond the two- or three-machine cells on display.

Of special interest concerning flexible systems were extensive and sophisticated software programs demonstrating production scheduling and tooling management capabilities. The flexible-manufacturing concepts promoted at this show emphasized lower production costs, increased machine-tool utilization, and improved reporting of management information.

There were very likely more flexible-manufacturing systems displayed at the 6th EMO than have ever been seen before in one place. While it is not possible to do justice to an overview of the entire show in the limited space we have here, it would be an equally impossible task to detail all of the flexible cells and systems that were shown. Therefore, we have picked a smapling of what was seen and have highlighted some of the features in the accompanying boxes. In future issues, we will be featuring FMS installations in our Advanced Manufacturing Technology section--describing significant systems worldwide.

For those interested in continuing developments in FMS, the Third Conference on Flexible Manufacturing Systems will be held in Milan, Italy, March 4 and 5, 1986. It is being sponsored by the Italian Machine Toll Manufacturers' Association (UCIMU). The Conference is part of the 7th NC Industrial Automation & Robot & FMS Conferences held in Milan March 3 to 7, 1986. For more information, circle 559.

Flexibility with standard machines

The approach to flexible machining used by Hueller Hille GmbH, Ludwigsburg, West Germany, is based on standard modules, integrated into a flexible-manufacturing system to suit a given user's needs. The standard metalcutting-machine elements consist of the multispindle head changer "Orbitor," with four multispindle heads, and the single-spindle nb-h 150 CNC machining center. In addition, an automatic wire-guide vehicle provides transportation for both the workpiece pallets and the tool cassettes.

The information system consists of a master computer (Siemens PC 16-11) and two connected monitoring systems. Apart from the usual diagnostic functions, the computer manages the workpieces within the system and displays machine loading and unloading stations. When a workpiece is changed, the computer automatically controls provisions for new tooling and supplies the CNC system of the machining center with tool data corresponding to the new tool cassette. Tool data is established beforehand on the tool presetter and stored in computer memory.

Of particular interest is the tool-supply arrangement. It is supplied as part of the nb-h 150 CNC machining center, and is called the segmental magazine cassette system (MCS). It assures that up to 134 tools are always available for direct pickup. The aim is to retool without any machine downtime. The tools are accommodated in five cassettes (photo inset in diagram), each with 25 tools and mine fixed tool-storage stations.

Diagram shows the Hueller Hille flexible system consisting of (1) tool-storage and tool-preseting area; (2) nb-h 150 CNC machining center; (3) automated guided vehicle for workpiece transport; and (4) the Orbitor multispindle head-changing machine. Automatic downloading of tool offsets from the tool presetter to the CNC system, or alternately from the master computer, eliminates manual-data-transmission errors. For more information on Hueller Hille FMS from Place Machine Corp, Troy, MI, circle 560.

Flexible cell sold as standard unit

The function of the flexible cell designed by MAHO Werkzeugmaschinenbau Babel & Co, Pfronten, West Germany, is to enable users to machine large varieties of workpieces in small-lot quantities. It provides for changing jobs without the need for setup time, using a pallet-pool, and an automatic supply of tools, in conjunction with self-monitoring and diagnostic functions.

The basic design of the MFS 50 flexible-manufacturing cell--as seen in the sketch--consists of two standard MC 50 machining centers, each with capacity for 120 tools, a rail-guided workpiece-storage system of 30 pallets, and a computer. This system is being marketed as a standard configuration. One of the machining centers features a two-axis NC rotary table, making it a five-axis machining center (photo inset). By adding auxiliary equipment such as additional tool-storage racks, at transfer device for additional tools, a tool presetter, and wash and inspection stations, the MFS 50 can be progressively built up to a high level of automation.

According to Werner Babel, chairman of the board of MAHO, the complexities of today's manufacturing systems call for those technical consultation, achieved by direct contact between the manufacturer and the customer. For this purpose, the company has established a new subsidiary, MAHO System Technik, GmbH, to work with customers looking for entire manufacturing systems.

The company claims a high market share in the German and European markets--resulting in a growth rate of around 20 percent over the last 10 years--but is now focusing its attention on both the international and US markets. They recently completed a new 75,000-sq-ft plant addition in Pfronten that will include a computer-controlled FMS supplied by Scharmann GmbH & Co. It will consist of four large machining centers, connected by a rail-guided pallet conveyor, on which large MAHO machine parts--columns, rams, bases--will be produced under computer control. For more information from MAHO Machine Tool Corp, Naugatuck, CT, circle 561.

Flexible Manufacturing

in planned phases

Typical of what many vendors of flexible systems list as cost-reduction benefits of FMS, personnel at Scharmann GmbH & Co, Monchengladbach, West Germany, emphasize the ability to increase workpiece throughput and turnaround time, by keeping the spindle in the cut more of the time. This, in turn, ties up less capital. This feature is further enhanced by the ability to run production on untended third shifts and during lunch breaks. Moreover, components of assemblies can be run in groups, thus negating intermediate storage of parts. Reduction of organizational and setup downtime is also gained.

The flexibility factor of FMS allows fast adaptation to both product design changes as well as variations in market demand. Production capacity is increased due to dynamic adaptation of production resources. FMS also permits a clearer analysis of production activities.

The flexible system exhibited by Scharmann makes use of two machining centers and a coordinate measuring machine, both supplied by a wire-guided vehicle that uses a forklift design to carry both workpiece pallets and tool carousels of the machining centers (see photos). Tools in the carousels are transported between the machining centers and the tool-presetting stations. In bringing a new set of tools ti the machining center, the forklift enters a receiving area alongside the rear of the machining center, where a mechanism is deployed to receive and retract the carousel into a tool-dispensing position.

The cell is controlled by a PDP 11/73 minicomputer, and is part of a larger system to be installed at a company in Wales, Great Britain, at the conclusion of the show.

Under a plan termed ESCO (economic, sophisticated, computer-controlled organization), the company offers various phases of flexible manufacturing, with the ability to expand from simple to more complex systems, as seen in the diagram. For example, its ESCO I is a cell that uses one machining center, with a ten-pallet part-transfer system and between 80 and 160 tools. ESCO II could use two linked machining centers with up to 20 pallets and 160 to 320 tools. ESCO IV is a linking of several flexible cells into a total flexible-manufacturing system. For more information from Scharmann Machine Tool Corp, Carol Stream, IL, circle 562.

Single-machine flexible cell

The flexible-manufacturing cell displayed by Ex-Cell-O GmbH, Eislingen/Fils, West Germany, consists of an XB 430 machining center with pallet changer and docking port for a wire-guided vehicle, which exchanges both workpiece pallets and tool trays. The machining center is equipped with a storage drum for five multiple-drill heads and a tray-type magazine for 144 tools. Seen in first photo is a pallet-exchange area with docking port in front of the machine. The tools are supplied to the tool-changing arm by means of a gantry robot. A cell computer controls the supply of material and tools, supplies operating programs, and provides production-control data. Photo below shows a bank of transport docking stations for fixturing and/or unloading workpiece pallets. For more information from Ex-Cell-O Corp, Troy, MI, circle 563.

Flexible, random-order


The purpose of the exhibit of Friedrich Deckel AG, Munich, West Germany, was to demonstrate a method of flexible automation for random-order small- and medium-batch production. The cell displayed demonstrated DNC operation with the aid of a production master computer. The computer permits the independent administration of tools and workpieces, collects current machine data, displays diagnostic and alarm messages, and can be integrated into a higher-order production-control system. The cell included two DC40 heavy-duty machining centers, the company's modular linear-pallet-magazine system (MLS), a production master computer, and a tool-pre-setting gage. For more information from Deckel Corp, Columbia, MD, circle 564.

Flexibility in grinding

A flexible-grinding cell by Fortuna-Werke Maschinenfabrik GmbH, Stuttgart, West Germany, automatically grinds turbocharger shafts at a rate of approximately 1.5 min each, while automatically changing tooling and machine settings. Two Model FMT 30 grinding machines are used for between-center grinding. One machine grinds the surfact of the shafts and the other grinds grooves. Four-axis contour control automatically calculates required feed plunge and correct rpm of the workpiece for each diameter to be ground.

The four shaft diameters to be ground are machined in sequence with a uniform profile wheel. An in-process gage is only required for measuring one diameter and to set the reference diamension. In case the workpiece diameter changes, the gantry loader--common to both machines--picks up a master shaft from a coded parking station for the purpose of automatic zeroing.

The gantry loader, pallet lifter, an both machines are connected to a Machining Management Systems (MMS), the function of which is to coordinate the machines with the gantry loader. Thus, the machining sequence of one machine's NC program can be made interdependent with the other machine's processing and program conditions as seen in the grinding-cell control diagram. Different operating conditions-- such as continuous operating, running up or running down of the cell--are monitored, resetting operations are organized, and tooling and workpiece materials are changed over.

In the grinding cell, both form-locking as well as pressure-locking drivers are used. Both are automatically exchanged as needed, being stored in a magazine between the machines. To make the change, the gantry loader first exchanges workpiece grippers for special grippers needed for the automatic driver changeover. This operation is also controlled by the MMS. For more information from Stoffel Grinding Systems, Tuckahoe, NY, circle 567.

Flexible cell features tool control,

production scheduling

The flexible-machining cell demonstrated by Makino Milling Machine Co, Tokyo, Japan, included two MC86-A60 machining centers, a rail mounted forklift workpiece/tooling carrier, tool center with tooling pre-setter, pallet-stocking racks, work-setting station, chip collector, and a Micro-Vax 1 system computer.

Tools are delivered to the machining centers in three-tool cartridges, as seen in the photo. The system has the ability to reconfigure the tool cartridges either at the machine or in the tool center. In an expanded-system version, a wire-guided vehicle is used to carry six tool cartridges at a time.

Software for the Makino FMC is a dynamic scheduling package that has the ability to reschedule the entire cell every 90 sec to accomodate any changed conditions. All the user has to do is specify what product is to be produced, in what quantity, and by what date. There is no need to manually prepare a machining schedule beforehand.

Software also includes a tool-cluster-analysis package that optimizes tools needed at each machine, depending on work to be performed. The tool presetter is tied into the system, so that as a tool is set, tool length and offset are automatically calculated an tied to a specific tool number. This information is then transmitted to the system computer for integrated control. For more information from LeBlond makino Machine Tool Corp, Cincinnati, OH, circle 565.

Common tool pool and

adaptable software

As with many manufacturers who have successfully built and installed FMSs, the company of Werner and Kolb, Berlin, Germany, emphasizes that users contemplating a system must be prepared for extensive organizational work and financial outlays. Moreover, a successful installation requires a high degree of open mindedness and commitment as well as a close partnership between the user and system builder.

With more than 40 systems installed to date, the company says that such commitment and cooperation has paid off in several ways for FMS users in performance and machine availability. They have found that, typically, installations are run in two-shift operations right after startup, with a 90-percent availablity achievable after six months of operation. In subsequent three-shift operations, an operator is present only on two of the shifts, with a 4-hr third-shift operation. Running six days per week, effective utilization of a system can average 120 hr.

Other benefits also accrue. For example, in-cycle job changeover makes it possible to run very small batches of parts economically, thus considerably reducing in-process inventory of workpieces needed for assembly.

The company recommends the linkup of two or more machines in a cell, but emphasizes that production efficiency increases greatly when more than two machines are linked. A four- to six-machine hookup is customary.

The tool system used with the Werner and Kolb FMS consists of stationary storage shelves common to all machines in the system, a loading and unloading station, a rail-mounted robot tool carrier with dual gripper for automatic supply of tools, and a tool presetter with a DNC connection. The automatic exchange of tools between the two magazines of each machine and the commonly used tool pool takes place during machining time, as seen in the photo of the company's FFS-500 system. Inset shows closeup of the robot tool carrier. All machining centers in the system have access to any of the tools in the common system.

The Werner SC II controls, monitors, and sequences all operations in the FMS. The modular, self-contained, and expandable hardware and software are divided into two, directly coupled computer levels: the planning level (organization computer) and the operative level (machine control), as seen in the diagram. The standardized, bus-structured MPST multiprocessor control system is used for the hardware. there is a large number of possibilities to connect peripheral equipment for tool presetting, bar-code reading, printing, etc. A direct linkup with a master computer can be made via the DNC connection of the organization computer. Circle 566, for more information from Lucas Machine, Cleveland, OH.

Machining machine-tool components

The untended flexible-manufacturing cell demonstrated by Cincinnati Milacron Ltd, Birmingham, England, at the European machine Tool Exhibition, performed machining operations in random order on 14 different steel and cast-iron workpieces. The components are all used on the company's own CNC machining centers, and involve some 33 milling, 325 drilling, 8 reaming, 36 tapping, and 11 boring operations. The system can manage a total of 24 work pallets, with routing of a single pallet to any five or six processing stations in the cell.

The Acramatic flexible-manufacturing cell controller (FMCC) synchronizes the actions of each element at the system level, and allows the operator to establish the work schedule. The route of each pallet is established by the operator via video display unit (VDU). Operator load/unload activity is also entered via the keyboard and VDU, with display showing pallet status, such as pallet number, condition, identity of workpiece, and priority. Equiment and vehicle status are also displayed.

The FMCC also controls system initiation, inclusion or exclusion of resources within the system, selection of system or stand-alone modes, single- or dual-shuttle mode, normal shutdown, and abnormal interruption. Program storage, data collection, and distribution are handled by an IBM microcomputer incorporated in the FMCC. Upward communication is available with a mainframe computer through an optional interface.

Individual units, including all processing stations, can be operated in a stand-alone mode to cope with failure elsewhere in the system. The system detects erroneous conditions and displays an error number. Errors include: system errors (such as detection of an inconsistent situation following manual intervention), operator error, and process error (fault condition at a machine). The system is designed to operate with light manning levels involving qualified people to deal with tooling and process problems. assuming suitable provisions, a full shift could be run untended.

The cell demonstrated was used for production in the company's Birmingham, England, plant for almost a year. After the exhibition, it is scheduled for reinstallation at the UK plant, where a second horizontal CNC machining center is to be added as shown in the phantom outline at the right of the diagram. The elements shown include: (1) Acramatic 900 CNC cell controller; (2) load/unload/buffer station; (3) T-10 horizontal machining center; (4) wash/dry station; (5) T.sup.3-726 robot used at the wash station; (6) coordinate measuring machine; (7) automatic wire-guided vehicle; and (8) additional machining center, to be added.

Photo shows an operation from an earlier exhibition--loading a cutter-grinder spindle-head casting onto its coded pallet at the rotary automatic work changer load/unload station. The eight pallets accomodate 13 different parts used in the assembly of the Milacron cutter and tool-grinding machine. Most pallets contain several different parts; three components are double-loaded to facilitate machining on several different faces. For more information, circle 569.

Self-setting, automated turning

A flexible-manufacturing cell, said to automate virtually every conceivable function in a rutning operation, was demosntrated by Traub GmbH, Reichenbach/Fils, West Germany. Called a flexible self-setting manufacturing cell, the system consists of the company's TNA 480-4D turning center, TX8D computer control, and a new FHS-2 flexible-handling system.

Fully automated setup and changeover procedures permit mixed production of smallest batches--such as a quantity of one--of widely varying parts (up to 45 lb) in optimized order sequence, including turning, drilling, boring, and milling. The FHS-2 handling system copes with automatic handling of workpieces and tooling (tools, chuck jaws, gripper elements). The twin workpiece gripper handles shaft and disc-type components. Two pallet conveyors store different blanks for up to 10 hr of production.

Automatic functions include workpiece selection from the storage magazine, setup, loading and machining, chuck-jaw changing, tool changing with tool-force monitoring, automatic change of worn or broken tools, workpiece monitoring, and optimization of part-order sequence.

As seen in the accompanying information-flow diagram, the cell computer communicates, via the organization terminal, with the host computer on one side, and directly with the RX8D control on the other. Further, it manages, selects, and allocates NC programs, workpieces, and tooling to one another. It then optimizes the order sequence according to the selectable-criteria minimum tooling requirements, finishing date, and batch time. Priority changes can be made at any time, and are executed immediately after completion of the current batch. Depending on the factory structure, the organizational terminal can be situated in the planning department, plant office, or on the shop floor.

The total cell is controlled by the TX8D modular multiprocessor control. Machine, handling system, workpiece, and tool magazines are controlled and operated from the control panel with CRT integrated into the machine. For more information from Traub Automatcs Inc, Hauppauge, NY, circle 568.
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Title Annotation:European Machine Tool Show; flexible manufacturing system
Author:Green, Richard G.
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Dec 1, 1985
Previous Article:Casting more light on gray-iron machinability.
Next Article:Our FMS industry - at a crossroads?

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