Connectivity the key as Fanuc demonstrates network capabilities

Like so many exhibitors at this year’s MACH, Fanuc is getting behind the Industry 4.0 push, with ‘Connectivity’ its theme for 2018.

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The Fanuc C800iB

The Coventry-based manufacturer has a wide array of capabilities on display, from automation and AI, to RoboMachines, drives and controls. Robot models come from across the company’s collaborative, SCARA, and machine-tending portfolios, with everything connected via a single software platform: the MT-LINKi.

This scalable tool – first unveiled at the EMO show last year – collects, monitors and displays the data of every machine on the stand. Three of the cells connected by MT-LINKi are showcasing Fanuc’s RoboMachine capabilities within electronic discharge machining and vertical milling.

“The MT-LINKi, for us, is a software platform that fundamentally allows us to connect our products all into one place,” Andy Armstrong, Fanuc’s UK sales & marketing manager, told The Engineer. “We’ve set up a linking, overlook monitoring system for the stand (H19 – S610), so this is like our own little factory.”

“We capture all of the data – productivity data, cycle times, alarms of the machines – all in one place, so that customers can see the efficiency of their overall production process.”

Fanuc’s ‘on-stand’ factory included the ROBOCUT C800iB, which is the largest of the company’s wire EDMs. The machine, which was making its UK debut as part of a gear-cutting and hole-drilling cell, is equipped with a Fanuc CCR rotary table, and a bonding alloy Pentron attachment.

The C800iB is suited to high-capacity, complex cutting requirements, and is capable of working without human interference for extended periods of time. This is due to its automatic wire feeding functions and Core Stitch technology, a software tool that allows operators to plan cutting jobs and increase unmanned machining hours.

“We’ve got the C400, the 600 and 800,” Armstrong explained. “It [the C800] gives us a capability to put larger products on the wire EDM. You can see a die plate on there. We’re cutting a gear at the moment. So it’s an extension of the product range and the wire EDM machinery, just to give us a greater foothold into new opportunities.”

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According to Fanuc, the two ROBODRILL cells are testament to the enhanced capability brought by Fanuc’s industry partnerships. The a-D21LiB model has been integrated with a Nikken 5AX-DD200BF2 direct drive 5-axis unit to cut a special-edition World Cup trophy out of brass. Meanwhile, the a-DiB5 ADV – which represents the latest advanced series of the ROBODRILL machining centre – is paired with a Fanuc robot and equipped with a Renishaw Equator. The Equator brings no-fault-forward functionality by analysing machined parts, and correcting any perceived decline in part quality without disrupting production.

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