HURCO SETS UP AUTOMATED PRODUCTION DEMONSTRATION
Following the UK launch by Hurco (www.hurco.co.uk) at the end of 2019 of a range of portable cobots (collaborative robots), the company has set up a manufacturing cell in its High Wycombe technical centre to explain to potential customers across Britain and Ireland the way in which machine tool tending may be simply and inexpensively automated. The company is keen to explain the productivity and cost benefits that come from maximising spindle uptime and freeing machinists to perform more high-value tasks.
There is a range of several options supplied by Hurco’s US subsidiary, ProCobots. Most models use the UR10e collaborative robot manufactured by Universal Robots of Denmark, selected because of its high build quality and reliability. The model installed in the demonstration cell has a twin gripper attachment and feeds a Hurco TM8i 3-axis CNC lathe having a maximum turning diameter of 256 mm and a Z-axis travel of 550 mm.
A double gripper is fitted to the cobot to load billets and unload workpieces. It uses an optional QR code that the robot scans to reference the robot location when it is moved from machine to machine, without the need for additional set-up.
Cobots are designed to work safely alongside machine tool operators to augment their activities by taking over repetitive tasks. They can be connected to any new or existing machine tool and are ideal for high-mix, low-volume production in job shops.
A notable feature of these collaborative robots is their almost human-like force sensing, meaning that a component can be pushed into a location or machine jaws with confidence that it has been located precisely.
All models in the ProCobot range have a compact footprint, so a machine can easily be operated manually whilst a cobot is in-situ. As every application is different, there is a choice of electric, hydraulic and vacuum component handling devices. A user company may prefer to manufacture its own grippers or grid-plates for locating stock and finished components.