Smart automation against the shortage of skilled workers

The AMF loading system is a celebrated innovation at a successful EMO

AMF presents a flexible robot loading system for automated workpiece handling for the first time. 

The smart and slim loading cell with very little space requirement is simply placed beside new or existing machines and creates more productivity up to a third, unmanned shift. Drawers with grid plates accommodate many parts of different geometries. A double gripper ensures safe loading and unloading in one cycle. At the EMO, the highly circulated innovation was the celebrated star because it increases productivity and counteracts the shortage of skilled workers.

"This is how easily, quickly and safely production companies can counter the shortage of skilled workers," promises Maximilian Gress, product manager at Andreas Maier GmbH & Co. KG (AMF) in Fellbach. The new, flexible Smart-Automation robot loading system from AMF automates the workpiece handling of lathes and milling machines. The practical solution can be operated intuitively without programming knowledge. Production order, whose quantities are becoming smaller and more varied, can be changed quickly and flexibly. At 930 x 960 mm, the loading cell requires less than one square metre of floor space and has the smallest footprint on the market.

Sophisticated features for efficiency and economy 

The supplier achieves this by mounting the KUKA 6-axis robot with a load-bearing capacity of 10 kg on top instead of on the side. Underneath is a workpiece trolley with up to ten drawers with grid plates. Different part geometries can be securely placed in these. The robot opens and closes the drawers in three variants with different heights independently. The workpiece trolley as component storage stands on heavy-duty castors and can be pushed in from behind. This enables external parallel loading with a second trolley during productive cycles. A floor scanner acts as a space-saving alternative to an enclosure and ensures safety of the employee by slowing the robot down or by stopping it.

At the end of the 6-axis robot is a double gripper with integrated blow-out. Thanks to the different gripper geometries, it can remove a finished part and insert a new blank in one cycle. An optional turning unit enables the machining of parts on all sides. For machine tools without automatic door opening, AMF offers the Smart Door door opener in various designs for different opening ranges. Smart Door is compatible with all common machine designs and can be easily retrofitted. The operation of AMF Smart Automation does not require any special robot knowledge. Users are guided intuitively via the user interface. Smart Automation can be positioned effortlessly and flexibly using a pallet truck. For component cleaning in the same process step, Smart Automation can simply be expanded to include the Smart Cleaning unit. Smart Cleaning can be equipped with a second workpiece trolley. This doubles the stock of unmachined parts.

For new and existing lathes and milling machines

"We put a lot of thought into the design and came up with the best solution for all applications. Together with the innovations, such as the top-mounted robot arm or the exchangeable workpiece trolleys , users get a multifunctional and highly flexible loading cell," Maximilian Gress emphasises. This makes it possible to increase process reliability as well as machine runtime and productivity. In times of a shortage of skilled workers, users receive a safe and reliable as well as efficient and economical round-the-clock solution for loading their lathes and milling machines.