https://cdn.mtdcnc.global/cnc/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/21102712/48-Immediately-after-the-initial-machining-of-the-workpieces-the-robot-transports-the-semi-finished-parts-to-the-washing-machine_RGB-640x360.jpg
    Automation

    FMS gets aero company flying

    • By MTDCNC
    • July 16, 2020
    • 4 minute read

    The production of small batches down to single workpieces is not generally associated with highly automated systems, especially if production involves complex machining and comprehensive inspection. However, SKF Aeroengine and Fastems have cooperated to create a solution that does just that.

    Based in Rouvignies, 630 employee SKF Aeroengine France specialises in manufacturing rolling bearings for aircraft and helicopter engines and is part of SKF Aerospace, a business with five SKF subsidiaries in Europe.

    “We received an order to manufacture special roller bearing components for the new LEAP engine, the successor to the CFM56 engine. This order was unique in terms of its volume, spanning a period of 20 to 30 years with batch sizes ranging from five to thirty workpieces per job”, explains Cedric Vandevoir, Process Engineering Manager at SKF Aeroengine.

    “Its a state-of-the-art turbofan engine manufactured by CFM International. The machining of complex, medium-sized rolling bearing components is demanding, and necessitated new strategies and maximum precision to meet quality requirements,” explains Marcus Jakob, Global Process Development Manager at SKF Aerospace.

    Given the demands, SKF Aero had to completely rethink its existing production strategy to remove manual activities. The task was to find powerful and precise machinery and automation. “We wanted to automate as many steps as possible, that’s why we looked for partners for the project”, says Jakob.

    After a thorough review of potential system integrators, SKF Aeroengine chose Fastems, as Marcus Jakob reports: “It was important our partner could respond flexibly to the very different requirements of the overall project, which will also be rolled out to other SKF Aero plants.”

    A complete solution with quality control

    The workpieces require long machining times, so two blanks are machined in parallel on the two turn/mill centres. The initial ideas were refined with Fastems presenting the ‘RoboFMS’ (Robotic Flexible Manufacturing System). “Thanks to the cooperation between SKF and Fastems, we quickly found new and innovative solutions to reach important milestones in the project”, says Jakob. The machines and systems connected to the FMS consist of two turn/mill centres, a grinding centre, a lapping machine, a 3D CMM, part cleaning and a laser marking system. The RoboFMS also includes a load and unload station for AGVs and storage for blanks, semi-finished parts and finished parts.

    An FMS for flexible handling

    Machining processes such as grinding are only possible without clamping, which means the workpiece at the loading station must be removed from the pallet for robots to load the machine. The RoboFMS links up all the process steps in a single FMS, from initial machining on zero-point clamping systems at the loading station to the two turn/mill centres to processing on the lapping and grinding machine, to laser marking and quality control, taking account of the previous process steps.

    The robot travelling on a rail can handle workpiece pallets as well as workpieces without a pallet. Vandevoir says: “For reasons of precision, machining on the lapping and grinding machine can only be carried out without clamping, so at this point, an employee has to unclamp the workpiece at the loading station, so the robot can first load the lapping machine and then the grinding machine with a semi-finished part.”

    Close to zero set-up times on the machines

    An integral part is a storage unit for blanks, semi-finished and finished parts. If enough material is available, the RoboFMS can produce autonomously for a long period.

    “We aim to manufacture for an entire weekend unmanned, even in batch sizes of 1. The prerequisite is that there are enough clamped workpieces and unclamped semi-finished parts in the system storage unit so that all RoboFMS stations can be operated,” says Jakob.

    One of the essential components of the project, according to Cédric Vandevoir, is the Fastems Manufacturing Management Software (MMS): “We will connect the MMS to our ERP system so we can plan production on it. The software will then also control and monitor the entire automated production. The MMS also enables us to map the overall efficiency of the RoboFMS, so that we can react quickly when required, the software offers all the prerequisites for this.”

    https://cdn.mtdcnc.global/cnc/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/21102712/48-Immediately-after-the-initial-machining-of-the-workpieces-the-robot-transports-the-semi-finished-parts-to-the-washing-machine_RGB-640x360.jpg

    FMS gets aero company flying

    The production of small batches down to single workpieces is not generally associated with highly automated systems, especially if production involves complex machining and comprehensive inspection. However, SKF Aeroengine and Fastems have cooperated to create a solution that does just that.

    Based in Rouvignies, 630 employee SKF Aeroengine France specialises in manufacturing rolling bearings for aircraft and helicopter engines and is part of SKF Aerospace, a business with five SKF subsidiaries in Europe.

    “We received an order to manufacture special roller bearing components for the new LEAP engine, the successor to the CFM56 engine. This order was unique in terms of its volume, spanning a period of 20 to 30 years with batch sizes ranging from five to thirty workpieces per job”, explains Cedric Vandevoir, Process Engineering Manager at SKF Aeroengine.

    “Its a state-of-the-art turbofan engine manufactured by CFM International. The machining of complex, medium-sized rolling bearing components is demanding, and necessitated new strategies and maximum precision to meet quality requirements,” explains Marcus Jakob, Global Process Development Manager at SKF Aerospace.

    Given the demands, SKF Aero had to completely rethink its existing production strategy to remove manual activities. The task was to find powerful and precise machinery and automation. “We wanted to automate as many steps as possible, that’s why we looked for partners for the project”, says Jakob.

    After a thorough review of potential system integrators, SKF Aeroengine chose Fastems, as Marcus Jakob reports: “It was important our partner could respond flexibly to the very different requirements of the overall project, which will also be rolled out to other SKF Aero plants.”

    A complete solution with quality control

    The workpieces require long machining times, so two blanks are machined in parallel on the two turn/mill centres. The initial ideas were refined with Fastems presenting the ‘RoboFMS’ (Robotic Flexible Manufacturing System). “Thanks to the cooperation between SKF and Fastems, we quickly found new and innovative solutions to reach important milestones in the project”, says Jakob. The machines and systems connected to the FMS consist of two turn/mill centres, a grinding centre, a lapping machine, a 3D CMM, part cleaning and a laser marking system. The RoboFMS also includes a load and unload station for AGVs and storage for blanks, semi-finished parts and finished parts.

    An FMS for flexible handling

    Machining processes such as grinding are only possible without clamping, which means the workpiece at the loading station must be removed from the pallet for robots to load the machine. The RoboFMS links up all the process steps in a single FMS, from initial machining on zero-point clamping systems at the loading station to the two turn/mill centres to processing on the lapping and grinding machine, to laser marking and quality control, taking account of the previous process steps.

    The robot travelling on a rail can handle workpiece pallets as well as workpieces without a pallet. Vandevoir says: “For reasons of precision, machining on the lapping and grinding machine can only be carried out without clamping, so at this point, an employee has to unclamp the workpiece at the loading station, so the robot can first load the lapping machine and then the grinding machine with a semi-finished part.”

    Close to zero set-up times on the machines

    An integral part is a storage unit for blanks, semi-finished and finished parts. If enough material is available, the RoboFMS can produce autonomously for a long period.

    “We aim to manufacture for an entire weekend unmanned, even in batch sizes of 1. The prerequisite is that there are enough clamped workpieces and unclamped semi-finished parts in the system storage unit so that all RoboFMS stations can be operated,” says Jakob.

    One of the essential components of the project, according to Cédric Vandevoir, is the Fastems Manufacturing Management Software (MMS): “We will connect the MMS to our ERP system so we can plan production on it. The software will then also control and monitor the entire automated production. The MMS also enables us to map the overall efficiency of the RoboFMS, so that we can react quickly when required, the software offers all the prerequisites for this.”