Run full, after tool change, without backing off

10/19/2005


An add-on controller is helping machine tool users reduce scrap after a tool change. Typically, when tools need changing, there’s some time and materials waste while recalibration occurs, according to Phil Lockhart, technical director of Leeco Inc. (doing business as www.thegagestore.com ). Among other efforts, Lockhart integrates technology to smooth tool change transitions on machine tools, such as manual lathe systems within robotic-fed machine cells.

One such installation is at Brunner International, Medina, NY, which makes shafts for tracker-trailer-brake components. Two Ovation EZ-Comp System devices were installed onto manual lathes to do trend calculations and process control, speeding tool changeover and preventing scrap. Before the installation, Lockhart says, operators did their best estimation of where the tip of tool was, a point that varies with temperature and wear. Rather than ruin the piece, they’d back the tool off from the target dimension, leaving some extra stock on first part, Lockhart says.

Now the EZ-Comp device controls the tool-change process, Lockhart explains. When a new tool rotates into position, any measuring, adjusting or compensating needed is completed automatically to make the part to specifications, first pass, without operator intervention. Parts range in length, 6-39 in., with plus or minus 1/1,000 in. tolerance. Brunner expects to expand its use of EZ-Comp System.

For related information from Control Engineering , see “ Adjust Quality in Real Time .”

—Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering , MHoske@cfemedia.com





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