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.

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.”

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.