EMAG Introduces Automation System for Modular Machines
January 16, 2019
EMAG recently introduced its TrackMotion automation concept, a technology that provides the same high levels of quality in terms of flexibility, modularity and productivity as the company's modular machines.
TransLift, a lift and turnover trolley with programmable electric gripper, moves rapidly from one point to the next on a rail. The TransLift travels 150 meters per minute, swiftly transporting components back and forth between the machines and parts storage facility. EMAG's TrackMotion automation system reflects a totally new mindset when it comes to automation – a way of thinking where the focus is on the individual component.
TransLift makes this system flexible, by not only transporting parts, but it can also turn workpieces and is equipped with a Z-axis that enables a stroke of up to 650 mm (depending on the version). This allows the use of stackers when supplying and discharging parts, or even the use of measuring and marking stations with different heights along the track. And another interesting point: The rail is positioned to the rear of the machines, directly behind the machining area. To make this possible, the energy container of the modular machines was offset from the rest of the machine body. The resulting "tunnel" behind the machines now serves as a location for swiftly transporting parts on rail. The extremely tight arrangement of automation and machine means production systems can be set up in very small spaces – one of the many benefits of the TrackMotion automation system.
Just like the modular machines, the TrackMotion automation system is also a modular solution: The rail system comprises four different tracks at lengths of 2,400 mm, 1,200 mm, 600 mm and 300 mm each. Standardized end components, each containing the electric motors responsible for the TransLift's horizontal motion, are attached at the start and end of the rail system. The TransLift itself is available in two variations, each derived from the workpiece range of the modular machines. And, of course, it goes without saying that the E-gripper can be easily programmed to adjust to the respective diameter of the given workpiece. But the two modular systems not only complement one another ideally in terms of construction. The modified interfaces, which can be centrally accessed through the machine control unit, also make it much, much easier to set up the entire system. This enables the TransLift to receive information about the workpiece to be transported (for example, its diameter) directly from the machine control unit and is then programmed accordingly. Just a glance at the overall system comprising machine and automation shows how planning complete production systems is nearly as easy as building with Lego bricks. The component defines the size, the quantity and the technologies required for the machines. The TrackMotion automation system is then simply adjusted to the length of the production system and the component diameter. In practice, of course, it's not quite as simple as depicted here. It is, however, significantly easier than comparable solutions using conventional automation approaches.
A complete production system with TrackMotion consists of three units that perfectly dovetail: the modular machines, the TrackMotion automation system, and the supply and discharge belts. Acting as component storage sections, these belts can be laid flat if large workpieces are involved or used three dimensionally as "stackers" for smaller workpieces. The latter variation offers particularly high performance in very small areas, affording the possibility of temporarily storing several hundred workpieces. The machines themselves are usually equipped with L-shuttle automation, which is used for suppling parts to and discharging parts from the pick-up station. Observing the complete system in action shows just how effective it is. As only a very small number of workpieces are being moved throughout the entire system, the status of every workpiece can be tracked at all times. This makes quality management much easier, as parts with deviating values can be easily identified.
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