Gosiger Factory Automation Key to Tool Maker’s Sales Growth
May 14, 2012
RFM, a unit of Mitsubishi Materials USA, manufactures indexable, multi-pocketed milling cutters, end mills and drills. The Brighton, Michigan facility quadrupled its annual sales and increased production output 25% by applying Gosiger Factory Automation technologies to its machining processes.
RFM contacted Gosiger Factory Automation to analyze the situation and design a high-volume cell that could run continuously. This design includes operating unattended overnight and on weekends.
The solution Gosiger Factory Automation designed and installed routinely produces more parts than three manually loaded machines combined. It consists of an Okuma vertical machining center equipped with a Tsudakoma 4th/5th axis tilting rotary table and a six-axes FANUC robot. To optimize servicing the cell, the robot loads through a side door, thus leaving the front of the machining center and control panel unobstructed.
A key to the system’s efficiency involves mounting rough tool blanks into CAT 50 tool holder bodies held by the rotary table. This means that a FANUC robot equipped with a single set of grippers can handle virtually any part processed by the vertical machining center.
The machine operator mounts the rough part blanks in the tool holder bodies, and these, in turn, are loaded into special pallets. Each pallet, which holds 25 tool blanks, is automatically conveyed to the robot that loads the blanks into the CNC machining center. After completing the machining cycle, the system returns the part to the pallet. When full, the pallets are automatically discharged from the cell. The system is capable of continuously running these pallets throughout the process.
RFM Vice President and General Manager Rudy Meffert stated, “We’re extremely pleased with Gosiger Factory Automation. Everything they did during analysis, design, installation and startup went as expected. Just as important, when we have questions, need assistance or run into a glitch, the Gosiger people are eager to help and very responsive.”