Hardinge Inc demonstrated automated production of hydraulic spool valve housings on its T51 MSY SP SuperPrecision turning center

Automated Machine Tending for Turning

Dec. 19, 2012
Extended periods of operation, with quality assurance Small footprint Fanuc robot, Renishaw gauge

Hardinge Inc. is incorporating an automated machine-tending concept for its turning centers. Recently, it demonstrated the system designed by Gosiger Automation on its T51 MSY SP Super-Precision turning center.

The machine-tending package includes a Fanuc M-10iA six-axis, industrial robot integrated to the Hardinge T-51 CNC multi-function sub-spindle lathe and a Renishaw Equator programmable comparative gauge.  The gauge provides high-speed scanning with rapid moves between features, and has “impressive” repeatability, Hardinge noted. It said the package demonstrates the effectiveness of robotic automation when coupling a machine tool with an automated gauging device for process control.

“Extended periods of unattended operation are possible with complete assurance that quality, close-tolerance parts will be produced, all in a small footprint,” stated Hardinge sales manager Brad Devon.

The automation system occupies only a minimal amount of floor space and still allows easy (“ergonomic”) access to the machine tool for part-to-part changeover and routine tool service.

The Fanuc robot is positioned close to the front of the lathe and offset to the left side of the Hardinge machine door. This maximized operators’ access to the machine tool.

The machine and setup will accommodate a range of parts with quick changeover features for relatively small production series.

The Hardinge T-51 MSY SP turning center, introduced earlier in 2012, represents years of Hardinge expertise in precision and high-performance turning. It has a 2-inch capacity, collet-ready main spindle that allows the cutting location to be closest to the spindle bearings. “This exclusive spindle design along with Hardinge’s patented HARCRETE-reinforced cast iron base provides an extremely rigid machining process with unmatched stability,” Devon said.

The machine’s main spindle has through-spindle coolant and part-presence detecting capability. The A2-6 sub-spindle is equipped with a Hardinge Sure-Grip expanding collet, with “true parallel” gripping.

The Hardinge-designed, BMT 55 turret has 12 stations that are tooled for turning, boring, drilling, grooving and milling. Sealing surfaces on the housing must be "super precise," according to the builder, and high-precision surface finishes, part roundness, and size control is critical, making this an ideal part for a Hardinge Super-Precision machine. The housing ID is held to a close tolerance to mate with the spool valve. Linear glass scales on each axis of the machine assure high machining accuracy and repeatability.

Gosiger Automation provided the integration concept for this application. Hardinge Custom Solutions engineers are available to develop part processing concepts, machine modifications, custom-designed machines, machine re-deployment/part re-processing, automation and training.

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries.