PF Blog

Merging Turning and Automation

By: Chris Felix
24. January 2013

Hardinge Inc. recently demonstrated automated production of hydraulic spool valve housings on its T51 MSY SP Super-Precision turning center. The automated machine-tending package, designed by Gosiger Automation, features 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 gage. The gage provides high-speed scanning with rapid moves between features, and has impressive repeatability.

This package demonstrates the effectiveness of robotic automation when coupling a machine tool with an automated gaging 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,” states Brad Devon, sales manager at Hardinge Inc.

The automation system uses minimal floor space and 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-hand side of the Hardinge machine door to maximize operator access to the machine tool. This machine and setup will accommodate a wide variety of parts with quick changeover features for relatively small production lot sizes.

The Hardinge T-51 MSY SP turning center, released in 2012, has a 2-inch capacity, collet-ready main spindle allowing 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,” says Mr. Devon. The main spindle has thru-spindle coolant and part present detector. 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 twelves tations that are tooled for turning, boring, drilling, grooving and milling. The sealing surfaces on the housing need to be "super precise.” High-precision surface finishes, part roundness, and size control are critical. 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.

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