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Application image – EGU

Loading/unloading of machine tools

Expertise for your machine loading
SCHUNK – your partner with application know-how

Increasing variance, decreasing lot sizes, fluctuating demand, as well as increasing global competitive pressure are in addition to topics such as skills shortage due to demographic change, but also the continuous process optimization with the help of current technologies only a few reasons why entrepreneurs have to think more and more about the automated loading and dispatch of machine tools. ​SCHUNK is the right partner for increasing the productivity of your machine tool. With our broad product portfolio and simultaneous process understanding, we enable different ways to automate your machine tool.​

Optimize your production together with SCHUNK for maximum efficiency.

Lean automation

Lean automation describes a flexible and affordable method of automated machine loading by using already available functions of the machine tool intelligently. The raw and finished parts tray is located within the travel area of the machine. With the help of a gripper with spindle interface, workpiece handling can thus takes place within the machine workspace. A clamping station facilitates the manual changeover of raw and finished parts as well as clamping devices.

Advantages of lean automation:

  • Low acquisition costs.
  • No additional knowledge required for operation.
  • No additional space required in front of the machine.
  • Dual working is easily possible.

Workpiece automation

In workpiece automation, raw parts are taken out of an external storage unit, and loaded into the machine tool's clamping device with the help of a handling device. After machining, the finished and semi-finished part can be removed from the clamping device and stored in the storage unit.

Advantages of workpiece automation:

  • Long unattended machine running times can be achieved.
  • Fast loading and unloading times thanks to automation that is perfectly adapted to the workpiece and the process.
  • Optimal for interlinked process steps.
  • Can also be used in unfavorable ambient conditions.

Pallet automation

In pallet automation, workpieces are set up outside the machine in the clamping device which is located on a pallet, and the complete pallet (including clamping device and clamped workpiece) is then loaded into the clamping station in the machine tool. The complete pallet with the workpiece is removed from the machine after machining. The workpieces are loaded into and unloaded from the clamping device outside the machine, something which can be done manually or automatically.

Application image – pallet automation

Advantages of pallet automation:

  • Different clamping concepts can be implemented, also suitable for small series.
  • Enables clamping of complex workpieces.
  • Also suitable for the automation of heavy workpieces.
  • For machining operations with high requirements on the accuracy of the clamping situation.

Workpiece & pallet automation

R-C2 is an example of an automation solution that combines features of both workpiece and pallet automation. The workpiece in the storage rack is gripped with the R-C2 and is clamped at the same time. The clamping force block with the clamped workpiece is then loaded into the quick-change pallet system of the machine like a pallet. After machining, the R-C2 with the clamped workpiece are removed from the machine. The workpiece can now be set up again, clamped and loaded for processing the second side. After production, the R-C2 with the workpiece is removed again and the finish-machined workpiece is placed.

Advantages of workpiece & pallet automation:

  • High level of flexibility.
  • Less set-up work.
  • 6-sided machining without manual intervention while maintaining high accuracy.

Workpiece automation with the R-C2

Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS)

Flexible manufacturing systems are multi-machine systems for machining workpieces. The individual machine tools are connected to each other via a connected transport and storage system to enable an automated material flow. In addition to the machine tools, there are corresponding transfer stations, where the raw parts are prepared, the clamping devices are loaded and unloaded, and the finished parts are deposited.

Product image – Flexible Manufacturing System

Advantages of the flexible manufacturing system:

  • Perfect utilization of the machine, increased spindle running time.
  • Large number of available pallet spaces.
  • Perfect organization and logistics of production through stockpiling of raw parts, clamping devices and tools​.
  • High flexibility in the selection of the production sequence.