By David McHenry, Engineering and Technical Manager at Rego-Fix
As part of a recent collaborative project, metalworking tooling companies Rego-Fix and Zoller Inc. developed an innovative automated tool presetting and measuring system. Called the Venturion 600, it virtually eliminates the need for any operator intervention and, thus, significantly increases tool presetting speed, precision and repeatability.
Automated presetters decrease cycle times and ensure accurate offset measurements, both of which make shops more productive and efficient. Unfortunately, many such automated systems can still require significant amounts of manual effort that slows the process and affects its overall precision.
In other automated presetters, an operator must manually move the tool between a measurement system and a mechanical or shrink fit-type toolholder unit. With the Venturion, the operator needs only to engage a start button.
The automated presetter clamps the tool in less than 10 seconds then measures its height, determines the machining offsets and sets the tool in the toolholder – in as little as one minute. Other automated presetting system cycles can take twice as long, if not longer.
With less required manual intervention, the Venturion significantly lowers the risk of human errors, especially when it comes to the input of tool offsets. Available Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips can immediately transmit that data to the machine tool. Doing so completely eliminates the risk of mistakes in measured parameters and offsets as well as the mistranslation of information from the presetter to the machine tool.
In addition to safe, fast presetting and measuring of tools of all types, the Venturion 600 is the only system capable of clamping/unclamping, measuring and presetting for Rego-Fix’s powRgrip system. This high-precision, high-torque collet clamping technology operates with less than 3 µm of runout as well as dampens vibrations to achieve excellent surface finishes in high-speed machining applications. Additionally, because the system does not require heat, tools can be used immediately after a tool change.
The marriage of advanced automated presetting technologies with that of powRgrip further expands that system’s applicability, especially in production line manufacturing environments. Large production companies – often in the automotive and aerospace sectors – require the consistency and speed that only highly repeatable automated presetting systems can deliver.
Just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing practices dictate that machines are in operation at all times, and thus necessitate automated processes that enable unattended machining. So, while some companies have been interested in the capabilities of the powRgrip system, they have been unable to implement it until now.
In working closely with its customers, Rego-Fix realized there was a high demand for the use of the powRgrip technology as part of an automated presetter system. As a result, a cooperation between Rego-Fix and Zoller married two great technologies into an unbeatable product.
In operation, the Venturion provides easy, simple navigation in terms of input and operation. Shops create profiles for each cutting tool used and specify parameters, such as gauge lengths and diameters. When an operator presets a tool, they place it inside a collet, then into the presetter, select the correct preset information in the software and initiate the system. The system then measures the cutting tool, presses it in and measures again to attain the final assembled measurements. As a safety feature, the operator must manually start the press-in cycle to ensure hands are clear of the machine. The system then prints the tool data or exports it to an RFID chip.
The Venturion 600 presetting system features a Zoller image process software “pilot” along with intelligent touchscreen operation and intuitive, ergonomic operating elements that optimize workflow. Additionally, equipped with Zoller’s high-precision spindle “ace,” the system delivers a concentricity of 0.002 mm (0.00008 in.) and quick-change tool clamping. A CNC controls the spindle C axis for automatic focusing of the tool cutting edge, while a rotational encoder allows for fully automatic positioning of the spindle to the nominal angle and/or evaluation of the C axis for measuring.
Shops use automated presetting technologies as an important tool in their efforts to optimize efficiency. With the latest development in this technology, shops can now simultaneously use both the high performance powRgrip system and automated presetting to eliminate error, heighten productivity and enhance lights-out operations.