Modern Machine Shop

JUL 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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MODERN MACHINE SHOP 115 BETTER PRODUCTION Collet Chucks Overcome Distortion SOLUTIONS Flexible to more accurately hold distorted gears is especially critical for the shop's fully automated cells because it ensures that gears load properly, preventing scrapped parts as well as potential machine crashes. Integrating the Chuck into Global Gear's Automated Cells For Global Gear, loading these chucks using automation was a challenge. A robot can easily load gears onto the three or six pins of a conventional pin-style chuck, but doing so with a collet chuck is more involved in terms of programming the robot's movements. The fact that the gear teeth were on a helix pat- tern further complicated the task. The company eventually was able to develop a fully automated loading sequence. First, the cell's robot locates the front of the gear and carries it to the chuck in the turning machine. Then, the robot assumes a free-f loating rotational-axis orientation. This free-f loating state essentially enables the gear to guide itself into the chuck as the robot applies inward pres- sure, much the same way a human hand would move if the gear was loaded manually. Change-overs at Global Gear typically take only a few hours, and the shop tries to do them in the mornings during the day shift so that the second shift is ready to run produc- tion. In addition to changing the workhold- ing, the transition from one job to the next involves changing over an entire cell's tool- ing, programs, robots, inspection, in-process gaging and finishing processes. "During the incorporation of automated cells, it was a bit of a risk on our part when Most shops will focus on the time it takes to change out a chuck, but that's only one part of the equation. The time involved with making two or three adjustments to get the part right is the real time killer.

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