Part-loading automation for radius grinders
- November 29, 2021
With the introduction of its STUDER roboLoad system, United Grinding is now offering part-loading automation for CNC radius internal grinding machines such as the company’s STUDER S121, S131 and S141.
Until now, loader integration was intrinsically difficult on these types of machines because of the height of their workheads and associated geometric restrictions. The new STUDER loader not only meets the geometrical requirements but also has a comparatively small footprint. For even more ease of use, it operates without any programming knowledge, allowing for greater production flexibility and operating comfort.
On the STUDER S121, S131, and S141 machines – often used to produce dies for the packaging industry – automatic B axes swivel in a range from -60° to +91°. That, according to Daniel Schafroth, Systems Division Manager at STUDER, is why any automation must be able to exit the machine and give the B axis the freedom to swivel. The STUDER roboLoad offers that capability.
As an external loader, STUDER roboLoad measures only 59.06" (1.50 m) wide: half the width of the machine itself. This saves valuable shop floor space, and yet the system offers plenty of room for workpieces manually loaded on six trays – each measuring 42.52" x 12.6” (1080 mm x 320 mm) – within a comparatively small work area.
"We are not talking about large-scale production, but instead unmanned production during the night shift, for example, or making optimum use of breaks in other production processes," explained Schafroth. Operators can bring up any grinding program for the workpieces, and the STUDER roboLoad processes them and places each workpiece back in the same place after machining.
For simplicity of operation, the STUDER roboLoad incorporates a setup wizard developed by automation specialists from WENGER of Winterthur, Switzerland. It requires no programming knowledge on the part of the setter or machine operator. "The easy-to-follow steps are graphically presented on a large 19'' intuitive display," explained Managing Director Michael Wenger.
"We have had a successful development partnership with WENGER for 25 years," said Schafroth. The goal was that an operator should be able to set up a new workpiece, including the changeover of the gripper jaws, within 15 minutes.
United Grinding employs nearly 200 people across the U.S., Canada and Mexico and has a new 110,000-sq.-ft. headquarters in Miamisburg, Ohio.