Robotic loading and automated clamping at Rantek Oy, Finland
Rantek is an electrical equipment manufacturer who excels in winding, machining and hardware assemblies.
They are continuously improving productivity and quality. Their latest investments have been in automation, including robotic loading and FMS.
OK-VISE is used regularly in their tooling columns, no matter if workpiece loading is done manually or automatically.
Robotic workpiece loading with cobot
Finnish automation specialist Wisematic Oy has developed a simple turn-key solution for machine tending.
Techman collaborative robots (cobot) are loading the workpieces to the machining center, and then the OK-VISE Powerplate has been developed and used to automatically hold the workpieces in the machine.
Additionally, the co-bot can execute all the actions just like a human operator, eliminating the need for any I/O interface between machine tool and cobot.
Swedish subcontractor improving their effectivity
Ljungby CNC is a subcontractor in Sweden, supplying components manufacturers of packing machines and agricultural machinery.
They needed a workholding system to clamp several workpieces at a time, with material from hardened steel to aluminum and plastics. After comparing several systems, Ljungby CNC decided for OK-VISE Multi-Rail RM system because it’s flexibility to adapt to multitude of workpiece forms and materials.
Additionally, the CEO Andreas Karlsson was very happy with the service provided by OK-VISE and it’s Swedish distributor Standardmekano.
Grid System modules in use
OK-VISE distributor WDS in UK has supplied Grid System components bike parts manufacturer Superstar Components to hold various work piece types, including large aluminium plates. Read more »
Lithuanian cases: Ignetas UAB
Another example from the company Ignetas UAB, which is a mid-size company, working in the subcontracting field that offers such services as robot welding parts, over moulding parts, semi-automatic and manual riveting parts and complex assembly parts. The company also has some CNC milling machines. They had the task of reducing the production time for one specific part which they are producing from an aluminium profile.
They are using a small 3 axis vertical machine (table size 300x250mm) for this task. The part is small and it also has some milling and drilling operations and 3 setups are needed. A very short cycle time leaves no space for the operator to do any additional work between cycle’s start and end.
Using traditional machine vices one-part production time including all setup’s was 2min and 25s.
We recommended that they use low-profile clamps and make a dedicated pallet, where all setups are clamped at the same time, a total 6 pcs on one pallet. It enabled a production time of one part 1 min and 15s. Also the cycle time of one setup was 2.5 minutes. It allowed more time for the machine operator between cycles.
Lithuanian cases: OK-VISE in 5-axis machnining
Our first case from Lithuania is a company using vertical 5 axis CNC machines. Machine table is Ø630x500mm. In the most case customer is using standard or dedicated 5-axis machine vises for 5 side machining. When part size is big enough, there is no problem with spindle/tool reachability of part from all 5 sides.
What to do if task is to cut complex part of size for example 25x25x25mm by using existing machine and table size. Specific vise is needed to lift part from table base to make possible to reach part with spindle/tool.
Customer started to use low-profile clamp. From the photos you can see simple solution: customer using standard machine vise for clamping block of aluminum, which we call riser. On top of riser one low-profile clamp is used to fix the blank material for 5 side machining. Solutions is simple and doesn’t requires big investments into specific clamping equipment.
Aluminum riser and OK-VISE low-profile clamp in combination for better accessibility at 5-axis table.
A small workshop using OK-VISE
MJM-Koneistuspalvelu Oy is a small workshop in Central Finland. Just like thousands of OK-VISE users, they are serving local industry with flexible deliveries and affordable pricing of their services.
The young entrepreneur Mikko Mäkelä took over the company from his father in 2015, and since then he has been upgrading the operations and equipment of workshop to be able to serve his customers more efficiently.
Mikko and his machinist Seppo are working with very typical machines, including two vertical machining centers.
Now one of the focus areas in the machinery is fixturing.
Earlier they have been using self-made dedicated fixtures and traditional machine vises. Now they invested on OK-VISE Multi-Rail RM System, which is a system for generic-purpose workholding.
“OK-VISE Multi-Rail System adapts easily to various workpiece types. Earlier manufacturing the dedicated fixtures ourselves took lot’s of time, and luckily we can now use our time much more effectively in productive work” says Mikko.
“In some prototypes we still use old-school machine vises. However, in true batch-production machine vise is not a rational choice, additionally cleaning large in a vise is time consuming.
May be the most important factor in their new workholding concept is that instead of one workpiece only that a machine vise could hold, Multi-Rail system clamps typically 6 to 12 workpieces at a time.
“All in all, investing for a Multi-Rail RM system has been a clever move” says Mikko.
The video below demonstrates a successful recent case of workholding in precision machining.
Seppo Suomi Oy
In future at Seppo Suomi Oy's machine shop in Hartola, Central Finland, one shift will be manned and the remainder handled with the assistance of automation.
”From now on we’ll have just one manned shift at our works. By automating the following shifts we’ll gain vital cost-efficient additional capacity”, emphasises Seppo Suomi Oy’s Managing Director Jani Suomi. “Now our machining stations will be running as much as 20 hours a day unmanned, which in itself is a radical improvement on the way things were previously.”
In order to achieve this, Seppo Suomi Oy has begun to invest in flexible production.
”Maintaining competitiveness and production quality have been the key drivers of this investment”.
At the core of the new investment lies Fastems Oy’s flexible manufacturing system (FMS), for which OK-VISE Oy supplies the fixturing technology.
With the help of this system both the workpieces to be machined and the material for them can be set up for one Mori Seiki machining centre. All in all the system has space for six machining centres and the aim is to increase capacity in line with demand.
”Our goal is to employ about 15 people at the new works two years from now and achieve a turnover of roughly EUR 3 million”, Jani Suomi says of the company’s intentions.
In the new system the workpieces wait in the FMS’s buffer store for the machining centre to become free. Since machining may also take place during the unmanned night shift, the dependability of the fixturing technology is of absolutely primary importance when choices are made.
The fixturing technology is based on OK-VISE Oy’s low-profile clamps, which during their 35 year history have proved to be some of the most reliable fixturing components available in the branch. Recent development work around low-profile clamping is represented by Fixturing Concept system modules.
These modules are installed on tooling blocks that have been designed and optimised for Seppo Suomi Oy. The tooling blocks have a 25x50 mm hole grid on all sides. Used together these permit the design of countless different fixturing options as well as changes to settings to be made in just a few minutes whereas with traditional clamping systems setting changes took several hours.