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Technology supplied by Fanuc UK is being used to control Zeeko’s high-precision polishing machines, also known as intelligent robotic polishers (IRPs), which are used in the production of surfaces requiring nanometre accuracy.

Typical applications include telescope mirrors ranging in size from a few millimetres to several meters — in particular the 1.4m segments of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) project, which has a finished diameter of 42m.

Zeeko works closely with Fanuc right from the design and concept phase, specifying the resolutions required to measure down to nanometre levels.

According to Dr David Loke, machine control systems manager at Zeeko, Fanuc helped the company to choose control systems, motors and drive kits.

Key benefits of product application

  • The addition of an interferometer to Zeeko’s new 1200 machine removes the need to take components off the machine for measurement during the polishing process; this eliminates errors in exact replication of positioning on the machine as measurement takes place in situ.
  • Fanuc reportedly played a key part in providing control for the five-axis polishing arm and the interferometer, working closely with Zeeko’s development team.
  • Zeeko is now using its process for applications in the medical sector, where the polisher is able to replicate complex human joints, such as the knee, to help produce sophisticated prosthetics.
  • There have been several instances where overseas customers have required additional functions that require control features and extensions being switched on; in every instance, Fanuc has provided excellent support, said Loke.

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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