EMAG will be introducing a new automation concept at the AMB – the EMAG ILS (InLineSystem). Specially developed for the machines of their Platform 250, it offers an easy, process-capable way to configure automated systems for production lines: from individual machine to full automation, including quality assurance – all from a single source.
InLineSystem – the manufacturing concept for automated machining
10/06/2010 - Oliver Hagenlocher
Customised solutions, tailored to suit individual manufacturing requirements – therein lies EMAG’s inherent strength. It is also the reason why the machines of the EMAG Group are offered complete with branch-specific automation equipment. Automation and machining can no longer be seen as separate items. For EMAG, automation is a tradition. After all, every EMAG machine is, per se, already equipped with an automatic loading facility as standard – its pick-up spindle. The tantalising question is how EMAG has handled the automation that interlinks the individual machines? It is here that EMAG offers a new concept with its ILS – specially developed for the machines of its Platform 250. The extent of automation is dependent on customer requirements and can be increased by degrees. It offers the customer the necessary leeway to adapt the system to a change in prevailing circumstances. Another focal point has been the scalability of production lines, where it is particularly important to guarantee a rapid production start-up in spite of fluctuating batch sizes, and to ensure that the line can be extended as required. The standardised manufacturing concept makes it possible to cover additional operations by adding more machines, thus integrating the solutions to new machining requirements into existing systems.
The new automation concept reduces investment costs
When analysing current production line concepts in the market place, EMAG’s developers reached the conclusion that too many compromises were made in the past with regard to the component flow. Many manufacturing systems were using elaborate and costly automation packages comprising gantry loaders, turnover stations and conveyors, which made the systems not only susceptible to malfunctions but also complicated to use. The EMAG engineers’ objective was simplification; i.e. to develop a production line concept that featured simple but effective automation components for the interlinking of its machines. What did that mean in detail? The fewer the automation components in a manufacturing system the better, as it does reduce the number of error sources. As all EMAG machines for gear manufacture are part of their Platform 250, the interfaces between machines were easy to coordinate and optimise. Workpiece handling is the job of the pick-up spindle, i.e. the machine handles the workpiece transport itself. Workpiece flow is continuous and in-line over the whole of the manufacturing system. Interface points can optionally be equipped with small component buffers or docking stations. This system reduces the proportion of automation components by 40% when compared to conventional manufacturing systems, saving money and increasing availability.
The developers also took account of the system architecture
The architecture of a manufacturing system plays an important role in establishing its economic viability and its value for the future. What is so special about the Platform 250 is the particular consideration its developers gave to the integration of its machines into manufacturing systems, by making available the necessary automation concepts and equipment components. Even step-by-step automation is possible – from purely manual or partly automatic to fully automated systems. This allows for the conceptualisation of production systems that suit existing manufacturing capacities and are capable of reacting positively to fluctuating production requirements. The trend towards demand-based production planning is manifest. Investments in possible future manufacturing capacities are as good as never made these days. Instead, manufacturing systems have to grow in line with production requirements.
The advantages of EMAG’s gear manufacture with ISL over conventional manufacturing solutions
- Compact, space-saving manufacturing concept (floor space requirement reduced by up to 15%)
- Minimal automation requirements and easy integration of customer-specific automation solutions
- Efficient component flow and short travels, leading to shorter idle times
- A modular, universal, standardised manufacturing concept – always expandable, easily adapted to suit changing machining requirements
- Shorter throughput times and greater cost reductions, as there is no longer any need for intermediate storage facilities, in-house transport, etc.
- Easy to reset; maintenance- and operator-friendly
- System supplier EMAG: seven technologies from a single source
Technical data for the production line for gears
- Component size, max.: 230 mm x 80 mm
- Workpiece weight, max.: 5 kg
- Chuck diameter, max.: 250 mm
- Gearings, max.: module 4