A Fastems multilevel pallet system keeps a constant flow of work going to two Giddings & Lewis HMC-170 machining centers in Parker Hannifin's flexible-manufacturing system.
Instead of choosing separate, conventional pallet pools to supply work to its two Giddings & Lewis 31.5-in.-cube horizontal machining centers, Parker Hannifin's Ostego, Mich., plant opted for a single Fastems MLS-MD multilevel pallet system. The setup, from JMC Technology Group, serves both machines to form a flexible manufacturing system.
Prior to this, Parker's tools stayed in their holders, and fixtures were kept on pallets that were lifted on and off various machining center pallet-storage areas. The logical step, therefore, was to move to a centralized storage-and-handling system.
Currently, there are 12 positions on two levels in the Fastems linear store for 24.8 19.7-in. pallets that handle loads up to 3,000 lb. The system's modular control software lets Parker schedule work, and instead of having programs resident in the machine CNCs, the shop can download them from the Fastems controller at the same time a job is routed to a machining center.
In addition, the software creates tooling lists and automatically checks magazines to see if resident tools are available to complete a job or whether tools need to be exchanged. Tool life is also monitored and sister tools managed in the magazines as well as external stores.
"Comparing this technology with pallet pools," comments Rick Brumm, manufacturing engineer at Parker, "the Fastems system is more flexible in directing work to more than one machine and takes up less shop-floor space. To match the capacity of the multilevel design at ground level would require a lot of real estate."
JMC Technology Group