Automated production of large workpieces

The two largest models in Hermle’s C-series of trunnion-type 5-axis machining centres, C 50 U and C 60 U, may be fitted with a new pallet changing system to automate the production of workpieces up to 2.5 tonnes in the case of the larger machine. Mill-turn versions of the same models, which are fitted with torque table for turning components in the same set-up, may be similarly automated.

Designated PW 3000, the compact pallet changer comprises three elements. One is a pallet handler with travelling, lifting and rotary axes linked with hinged safety doors that open and close before and after pallet exchange into and out of the machining area. Maximum load is 3,000 kg, including pallet, fixture and workpiece. The latter can measure up to 1,400 mm diameter by 980 mm high.

The handling device also serves a rotary work set-up station where raw material enters the system on pallets and machined components leave. It allows work to be fixtured while machining is in progress, maximising spindle up-time.

A rack that can accommodate up to eight pallets on one or two levels is the final element. It is used for storing work ready for machining or pallets with finished components awaiting exit from the system when the set-up station is busy.

It is possible to extend the pallet handling system to serve two machining centres. Other benefits include simple and quick installation, without the need for floor anchorage, and free access to the machine’s working area for manual intervention.

A video showing the system in operation is available at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlGUQ7uz-e8