AMF Smart Automation loading system increases the depth of production for users and counteracts the shortage of skilled labour

The first user of the new robot loading system for automated workpiece handling presented at EMO 2023 is already "shockingly in love" after just a short period of use. The smart, slim and flexible loading cell with very little space requirement not only ensures greater productivity, but in-particular, for more independence. Attached to an existing lathe, it ensures reliable and unmanned continuous loading and unloading. And thanks to its smart sister opposite, the parts arrive spotlessly clean for further processing.

Ever since a Swabian hidden champion started using the new AMF Smart Automation robot loading system on a lathe in his production facility, its all done for him. He could not have imagined so much more productivity and so much more independence. The new, flexible Smart Automation robot loading system from AMF automates the workpiece handling of ball sockets on a Haas lathe. The hidden champion from Filstal now manufactures these important parts for its main product itself instead of continuing to buy them in. Up to 10,000 of the pressed metal parts are regularly turned to size in four variants. The workpieces are loaded and unloaded by the robot. For this purpose, Smart Door automatically opens and closes the door to the lathe before the workpieces are cleaned in the Smart Cleaning system positioned opposite and then sent to hardening.

Less than 1 square metre for high performance

Until the time comes, the AMF innovations Smart Automation, Smart Door and Smart Cleaning do their work reliably. This starts with programming, which can be completed intuitively on the screen without any programming knowledge. This is extremely important when the quantities of production orders are becoming ever smaller and more diverse. Another decisive factor for the user is the small space requirement of Smart Automation. 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. This means that the operator can access the machine at any time. Naturally, the robot has already come to a standstill until then. This is because a floor scanner acts as a space-saving alternative to an enclosure in Smart Automation and ensures safety of the employee by slowing the robot down and then by stopping it completely.

AMF implements the small footprint by placing the KUKA 6-axis robot with a load-bearing capacity of 10 kg on the top instead of on the side. Underneath, there is a workpiece trolley with ten drawers with grid plates that the robot opens and closes independently. These can hold up to 2000 blanks and finished parts for the ball sockets made of tool steel. The four variants cover a diameter range from 18 to 36 millimetres. The workpiece trolley is pushed in from the rear on heavy-duty rollers.

Fully automatic cutting, cleaning - and done

At the end of the 6-axis robot there 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. The Smart Door door opener is installed to ensure that this is carried out fully automatically. Smart Door is for machines without automatic door opening, is compatible with all common machine designs and can be easily retrofitted.

The third element is the Smart Cleaning system from AMF, which is also brand new. Once the robot arm has removed a part with its grippers and inserted the next one, it guides the finished part into the Smart Cleaning unit positioned opposite. There, an air jet blows away chips and coolant via six nozzles. Meanwhile, the next workpiece is almost finished. And because Smart Automation and Smart Cleaning can be moved effortlessly with a pallet truck, in Filstal they are considering where else to use these flexible and mobile units.

Conclusion: more productive, more independent, more punctual

The decision in favour of this wonderfully coordinated ensemble was not made by the company boss solely for economic reasons. In addition to the unquestionably higher productivity, the company reduces risks in the supply chain and can meet the deadlines of the customer more reliably.