Die-caster to install automated mill-turn cell

Andover-based aluminium die-casting company MRT Castings uses robotic systems in its foundry, but until now automation has not featured in the company’s machine shop, apart from a twin-pallet changer on machining centres from the Japanese manufacturer Brother, supplied through sole agent Whitehouse Machine Tools.

This situation is due to change following an order placed by MRT’s managing director Phil Rawnson at the Southern Manufacturing show in February for a Brother Speedio M140X2 mill-turn centre with Feedio robotic component handling system. The Feedio unit supplies raw material automatically to the machine and returns finished components. MRT’s new cell, which will be the first five-axis machining capacity on site, is due to be operational this month.
Rawnson says: “We had been looking to introduce automation into our machine shop for several years, as we see it as the future for our company. At present we operate a day shift with a few hours’ overtime in the early morning and evening. The Brother cell will add to this by allowing us to run lights-out for up to eight hours, depending
on component size and cycle times, as well as unattended during the day. We expect it to have a big impact on our productivity.”
The plug-and-play Feedio automation unit communicates with the machining centre via a Profibus interface. Feedio is supplied with a six-axis ABB robot and the manufacturer’s smart teach pendant incorporating a customised Speedio page.
MRT’s first family of components to be produced on the new automated equipment will be a selection of aluminium bodies for a range of LED light fittings.
Rawnson concludes: “We plan to target a wide range of different components for production in the new mill-turn cell.”
For further information www.wmtcnc.com