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To increase metal-cutting capacity in response to an upturn in orders for automotive pumps, UK manufacturer Concentric, has installed three Fanuc Robodrill machining centres at its manufacturing facility in Erdington, Birmingham.

Concentric

The company’s oil, water and fuel pumps are used mainly in diesel engines that power light- to medium-duty trucks and off-road plant.

Two engine manufacturers have recently awarded significant contracts to Concentric for the machining, assembling and testing of an oil pump and a transmission pump. Consequently, a new production cell has been set up at the Erdington factory based around three α-D21LiA5 Robodrills dedicated to machining the aluminium pressure die castings.

The norm at Concentric is to use 40-taper horizontal machining centres with twin pallet changers. However, a 30-taper, high-speed, vertical-spindle machine was better suited to the relatively light machining operations and was more productive and competitively priced.

Key benefits of product application

  • Mark McFall, manufacturing engineering manager, said: ‘We researched machines for our new oil pump cell during the last quarter of 2013. For the metal-cutting operations, we were looking for a smaller taper machine with a fixed table and a fourth axis in the form of a rotary indexer. We opted for Robodrills due to Fanuc’s good reputation in the market, especially for the reliability of their equipment.’
  • According to McFall, the Robodrill was also ideally sized in terms of its tool capacity, as Concentric’s applications require 20 tools and the machine’s turret-type magazine houses 21 cutters.
  • To fulfil Concentric’s customer contract, one Robodrill produces the oil pump cover and the other the pump body, with both machines operating over three shifts. In the first machine, the covers require two separate operations and are loaded two at a time into fixtures that accept the part in both orientations.
  • For manufacture of the transmission pump, the third Robodrill produces two different parts in two operations each over a single shift, again from aluminium pressure die castings. Eight fixtures allow two of each part, i.e. four components, to be produced per load/unload.
  • At the end of every cycle in all three machines, the trunnion carrying the fixtured components is programmed to come to rest at 45º. It encourages swarf and coolant to fall away and minimises the need to use an air gun to clear the machining area. Additionally, work is presented more ergonomically to the operators, enhancing production efficiency.
  • The high speed of the α-D21LiA5 Robodrills derives from a specification that includes 1.5g acceleration to 54m/min rapids in all linear axes, up to 30m/min programmable feed rates and the 1.6-second tool-change time, chip to chip.
  • Working volume is 700 x 400 x 330mm and the machines at Concentric have been equipped with a swarf conveyor and oil mist extraction.
  • McFall confirmed that the machines have proved reliable since installation, producing components to ±10-micron tolerances and that Fanuc has provided excellent programming support and training.

FANUC UK provides industrial automation solutions ranging from the supply of CNC controllers, robots, drilling machines, EDM and injection moulding machines through to the complete integration of factory automation systems.

Providing a single customer support portal for its three core businesses, FANUC comprises FA — CNC controllers, motors and drives; robotics — industrial robots and systems; robomachines — EDM, injection moulding and drilling machines.

CNC

FANUC’s FA business manufactures CNC controls, drive systems and laser systems. With a 65 per cent market share in the global CNC control sector, FANUC is the market leader. FANUC CNC is the controller of choice for the world’s leading machine tool manufacturers; continuously developing functionality sees FANUC CNC control being used in a wide range of applications — combining powerful control and high precision with unparalleled reliability.

FANUC servo drives and motors are well proven — aimed at the machine builder, they offer the widest range of high-performance compact designs.  The high availability and ease of maintenance together with world-class, energy-efficient designs make them the motors of choice for thousands of OEMs around the world.

Robotics 

FANUC’s robotics business manufactures the widest range of robots in the world for applications from micro-electronics assembly to the forging of precision aerofoils for jet engines — in industries as diverse as pharmaceutical and potato processing — and with maximum payloads from 1kg to 1,350kg. More than 280,000 FANUC robots are operating worldwide, with production currently geared to meet demands of 5,000 per month. FANUC robots are truly ‘out-of-the-box’ automation designed to be totally flexible and, with application-specific options, straightforward to integrate.

Robomachine

FANUC’s robomachine business manufactures Robodrill machining centres, Robocut EDM machines and Roboshot electric injection-moulding machines. Using FANUC components throughout, the robomachine business builds on the advanced technology, reliability, energy efficiency and innovation of its own controllers, drives and motors. With a focus on energy efficiency and high reliability, the robomachine business developed the first all-electric injection-moulding machines — Roboshot — changing the mould shop into a much cleaner and quieter environment.

Customer support

From initial sales contact with FANUC through the life of the product, FANUC provides one single contact point to make sure support is always at hand with up-to-date advice, genuine warranted parts and, whenever possible, obsolescence avoidance solutions that ensure the lifetime delivery of maximum efficiency.

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