Efficient work holding for five-axis machining

Under its sole agency agreement with Japanese manufacturer, Kitagawa, 1st Machine Tool Accessories is offering the new Swift Klamp to machinists in the UK and Ireland.

The rigid work-holding product uses proven HSK tool interface technology to provide a secure, low interference, quick-change clamping arrangement that resists bending forces generated during metal-cutting operations.
Designed for five-axis machining applications but equally suited to use on three- and four-axis machines, the system consists of three parts: clamping head, work holder and workpiece. The head is supplied either as a manually or automatically operated HSK clamp, while the work holder comprises an HSK interface at the base and multiple options at the top for holding the workpiece, including flange clamps and side clamps.
The most efficient clamping system, however, is the dovetail interface. Here, a small clamping surface area allows enhanced tool access, while its low profile maximises the machine tool’s Z-axis travel. Workpieces up to 200 mm square or diameter can be accommodated.
The final element is the workpiece to be machined, which in the case of the dovetail holder requires a slot to be pre-milled into the raw billet to match the holder profile. A solid-carbide cutter is available specifically for this purpose. Additionally, pre-machined dovetailed EN3B (070M20) steel and HE30 (6082) aluminium blanks can be supplied in various sizes for immediate use.
The manual clamping head has a versatile flange that suits multiple mounting options. Available in HSK-A40, HSK-A63 and HSK-A100 sizes, it may be set up off-line and the work holder can be exchanged within 10 seconds, minimising machine downtime.
For automated manufacturing processes, a hydraulically-actuated clamping head is available in the same HSK sizes, with seating detection and air-blow.
For further information www.1mta.com

The gripping solution of tomorrow

The gripping industry is undergoing radical changes. In the past, gripping processes were primarily geared toward boosting productivity and process reliability.

With the advent of smart factories, flexibility is becoming an increasingly important factor. According to Schunk, tomorrow’s grippers will enable flexible operations and even autonomous handling scenarios.
Until recently, industrial gripping has been relatively rigid; the geometry of the parts must be known, as well as the exact pick and place position. A reliable handling process can be provided by predefining traverse paths and specifying target point co-ordinates based on repeatable parts-feeding operations. With the rise of digitalisation, the trend is now moving towards highly automated, fully networked and autonomous manufacturing systems.
Against this backdrop, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly important. The first cognitive intelligence applications for grippers in combination with cameras are already possible. This allows for intuitive training by the operator and autonomous handling of gripping tasks by the robot. For these applications, Schunk purposely designs practical, industry-oriented handling processes by limiting the number of component variations. This strategy streamlines the classification and training process.
In an initial use case that makes use of machine learning approaches for workpiece and gripping process classification, interlocking building blocks are randomly combined and presented to a lightweight robot in a random arrangement on a work surface. The robot’s task is to pick up and transport the blocks. By interacting with 2D or 3D cameras, the self-learning system rapidly increases gripping reliability after only a few learning cycles. With each grip, the gripper learns how to successfully pick up and transport the component.
For further information www.schunk.com

Big gains at family firm

A family owned precision engineering company in Coventry has achieved a 10% increase in its forward order book and made double-digit productivity gains with the help of experts from the MTC.

An SME team from the MTC’s Manufacturing Support Services operation worked with managers and operators from aerospace supplier Harris RCS and helped them make big advances in production planning, productivity and on-time schedules. Harris RCS approached the MTC to help the business reduce waste, improve set-up times and improve productivity in its CNC machining operations.
For further information www.the-mtc.org

22,000 customers

There are now more than 22,000 companies using the licences and/or services of Lantek, spread over more than 100 different countries on five continents.

Lantek specialises in the development, sale and integration of control and management software solutions for sheet metal and fabrication plants, including CADCAM, MES and ERP. Of the existing 22,359 customers which rely on Lantek solutions, the majority come from the laser-cutting sector, followed by the oxy-cutting/plasma, punching and waterjet.
For further information www.lamteksms.com

Röhm expands its executive board

Clamping and gripping specialist Röhm has expanded its corporate executive board, effective from 1 April 2019.

Together with Gerhard Glanz, Dr Till Scharf has taken on the new role of COO/CTO. Dr Scharf is now be responsible for the logistics, development, construction and production business divisions.
After earning an engineering degree from the University of Stuttgart and collaborating on projects at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology, and the Institute for Combustion Engines and Vehicle Technology, Dr Scharf successfully studied for a doctorate at the University of Clausthal. Within the scope of his career Dr Scharf has held a variety of managerial positions with market-leading companies and corporations in the industrial and automotive sectors.
“We are pleased to welcome such an internationally experienced manager as Dr Scharf to our team,” says Glanz. “He has already proven himself to be a highly successfully leader, and we are confident that he will assist us in mastering the current optimisation tasks within our corporate group even faster and more efficiently.”
For further information www.roehm.biz