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Metsec Metstrut has installed an automated Amada EMK3610NT CNC punch press and Astro 100NT robotic bending cell to increase productivity of its cable management systems.

The punch press and robotic bending cell have been integrated into an Amada CS compact store modular stockyard system for FMS applications.

Metsec Metstrut, the Oldbury-based cable management and framing services division of Metsec, was already a user of Amada Vipros punching technology and Amada HFE press brakes.

These latest additions mean that the company now represents the longest automated and integrated machine/production line installed by Amada within the UK.

‘Although we were managing to meet existing throughput for our range of cable tray systems, we wanted to enhance our offering in this area and introduce new cable trunking products,’ explains Metstrut’s production director Ian Hemsley.

‘Such high volume, commodity items meant that automation was the logical way forward and something we knew would provide competitive advantage,’ he added.

From a machine tool viewpoint, the centrepiece of the manufacturing facility at Metsec, is its Astro 100NT flexible bending cell, which features a five-axis bending robot fitted to a lower beam at the front of an Amada HDS-1030NTR seven-axis press brake.

An accompanying six-axis ERX 1220 articulated load/unload robot means the system features two robots as standard.

Outside of normal shift hours, the Amada manufacturing cell runs unmanned.

All parts are programmed off-line using Amada Dr Abe Blank software for punching and Dr Abe Bend software for the press brakes.

Additional automation factors contributing to minimised labour input at Metsec include Amada sheet loader and part removal unloading devices for both punch presses, and the integration of an Amada CS300 compact store modular stockyard system.

The CS is a modular built stockyard system for FMS applications that can utilise from 30 up to 250 pallets accommodating raw material and finished parts.

Connections are possible to punching, laser, bending and welding cells.

The flat shelves of the system have four wheels to provide a compact design, ensuring that space for crane forks between pallets is not required, while transfer lift carts are similarly not needed to transfer pallets from a stacker crane to the cell.

At Metsec, material arrives from the supplier and is entered into the Amada CS system where it waits to be called off by the scheduler software when required by the punching machines.

Typical component batch sizes are 500-600, while material thickness ranges from 0.7mm up to 2mm.

‘As we didn’t manufacture these parts before it is difficult to gauge exactly the savings that have been accrued in comparison to previously used production methods,’ said Hemsley.

‘However, these parts are a commodity in our industry and so they must be produced in the most cost-effective way utilising the least amount of labour input, something I feel we have now achieved,’ he added.

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