Mazak Corporation detailed plans to install a new, highly automated manufacturing cell at its Florence, Ky., plant, including six machine tools and full automated storage/retrieval (AS/RS) capability. Several elements of the developer’s Smooth Technology process control platform will be integrated to the system design, to coordinate production sequences and streamline information flow.
The projected $8.5-million expansion will be completed later this year.
“Mazak continuously invests in its North American operations, which have grown and advanced into a sophisticated and extremely productive Mazak iSMART Factory,” explained Dan Janka, president of Mazak Corp. “At the heart of that forward-thinking concept are plant-wide connectivity, automation, and optimized production flow that allow us to significantly increase machine utilization, shorten throughput times, eliminate non-value-added operations and process parts more efficiently.”
The Florence, Ky., plant has been expanded and extensively updated over the past decade, and is a primary example of Mazak’s iSMART Factory concept. Along with the various automation systems and manufacturing technologies installed there, the plant uses the MTConnect® open communications protocol to link machines, work cells, individual devices, and discrete processes, and to collect process and product data from each one.
The new production cell will include two HCN 6800 horizontal machines; three HCN 8800 horizontal machines; and an Integrex e-1250V multi-tasking machine.
The six machines will have four load/unload stations, three different work pallets, and a raw material/stocker system. Mazak’s Smooth Tool Management system will oversee the operation and access tooling information via Cloud-based data loaded into toolholder RFID chips.
The cell will be coordinated by the Mazatec Smart Manufacturing System (an automation infrastructure that includes storage racks, automated handling devices, and related system programming), and all six machines will feature Mazatrol SmoothG process-control technology.
Mazak’s SmartBox process monitoring and optimization capability will link the new work cell within the iSMART Factory concept, which has been developed in Kentucky and across the Yamazaki Mazak Corp. global organization.
“As always, it has been our practice to first use any newly developed Mazak manufacturing technology in our own operations before ever offering it to customers,” Janka noted. “We would never offer customers technology that we ourselves wouldn’t be willing to use in our own operations. And the new technology as part of this investment is testament to that practice.”