New Cell for Cost-Effective 5-Axis Automation in Medical Machining

March 1, 2010
Methods Machine Tools Med Cell is a compact, fully integrated design thats easy to configure for producing precision components in a range of materials

The Med Cell is served by a high-speed, six-axis FANUC robot, supplied with grippers, a teaching pendant, and several customizable programs.

Methods Machine Tools Inc. released the new RoboDrill Med Cell, a complete pre-engineered, fully integrated production machining cell that automates loading and unloading of medical device parts. FANUC’s RoboDrill Machining Center is at the core of the system. The Med Cell has full 5-axis machining capability for medical machining applications, including short-run production of parts in materials from stainless steel to titanium.

“Med Cell provides medical manufacturers with a cost-effective, lights-out automation solution to successfully compete in today's challenging economy,” said Steve Bond, Methods’ national sales manager, RoboDrill, RoboCut and EDM Products.

Med Cell is compact and designed for simple installation, fast setups and changeovers, operator safety and production flexibility. It features an integrated macro chuck, so different parts can be mounted on the same universal chuck base for maximum versatility. The Med Cell is easily configured to handle virtually any part that will fit in its six-in. vise or chuck. The workpiece is pallet-mounted, ensuring that parts remain perfectly aligned when moved through other production operations. The Med Cell incorporates a compact, custom-engineered drop trunnion rotary table that positions the table faceplate close to the RoboDrill table surface, providing increased rigidity and enhanced accuracy.

The six-axis FANUC robot is fully integrated, so the Med Cell automates loading and unloading, and minimizes (or eliminates) numerous production problems. The high-speed FANUC LR Mate 200iC Robot is provided with grippers, a teaching pendant, and several easily customizable programs. The package also includes fully interfaced inbound and outbound conveyors and guarding that are customized to receive the integrated macro chuck.

The heart of the Med Cell is the RoboDrill Vertical Machining Center, which is designed for long, continuous use in full 5-axis machining via powerful CAMplete software (optional) for exotic materials and designs. RoboDrill offers a 14-tool (or optional 21-tool) tool changer, 10,000 or 24,000 RPM spindle, torque to 56 ft-lbs, rigid tapping to 5,000 RPM (8,000 RPM optional), accelerations (in X, Y, and Z axes) to 1.5 G, rapid traverses to 2,125 IPM, feed rates to 1,181 IPM (2,362 IPM optional), high-speed reverse tapping, thread milling, 1,000 registerable programs, and 54 work offsets. In addition, the industry-standard FANUC 31i control is operator-friendly and easy to use.

The Med Cell can be modified for use in turning applications, too, in conjunction with a Nakamura CNC lathe. An optional graphite machining package is available, and a vision system can be added to identify parts of differing sizes.

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