Roemheld steps up to automation challenge

Henley-based Rousant Sherwood selected Roemheld UK as the supplier of various hydraulic items to fulfil a project to automate a Topper VMC.

The items included: an MC100Z concentric vice and a block cylinder that acts as a tailstock to secure the component between centres for Op 1; a pair of swing clamps to hold the component for Op 2; rotary unions for both pre-existing, pneumatically-operated indexing heads to feed the hydraulics to the fixtures without tangling the hoses; and a hydraulic power pack.
When production commences, the robot opens the VMC’s doors, picks up a stainless steel billet from a table at the front of the machine, and places it in a horizontal orientation in the hydraulic Roemheld vice, which executes a soft close. The tailstock advances so that its centre pushes the billet to an end stop at the back of the jaw, whereupon full clamping pressure is applied.
Op 1 consists of milling two diametrically opposed flats along the length of the billet, drilling and chamfering three holes through the flats, and drilling and grooving two blind holes on either side. The component is then indexed through 90° for a small pocket to be milled.
Once the doors have been opened, the robot picks up the part-machined component and transfers it to the Op 2 fixture, where the workpiece is secured by Roemheld swing clamps. A fresh billet is loaded into the vice so that its Op 1 cycle can be completed with Op 2 on the previous part while the doors are closed.
Op 2 comprises drilling and tapping a blind hole in one end face of the billet and drilling two holes at an angle through the small pocket on the side so that they intersect internally. The entire cycle takes just over one hour to complete.
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