Robotic bending system engineered for small-lot job scheduling

December 11, 2007

Amada's Astro II 100NT robotic bending system is designed to allow lights-out operation in large and small shops. Engineered for small-lot job scheduling, the system features an upgraded automatic tool changer, gripper changer, and hand changer.

The cell configuration is built on the company's HDS NT press brake, which combines a hydraulic pressure unit and a servomotor drive system. To reduce electrical consumption and heat, hydraulic operation is suspended when the ram reaches the top of its stroke. Ram positioning is accurate to 1 micron, the company reports. The press brake is integrated with two CNC robots—one handles bending at the brake and the other loads material into and out of the cell while handing off material and parts from the bending robot.

According to the company, an advanced load/unload system and a redesigned bending robot increase axis speed by 20 percent. The backgauge has a Y-axis speed of 3.15 IPM and an L-axis right-to-left feed speed of 0.08 in./1,000.

The Astro CAMII automation software allows operators to generate programs automatically, including robot gripper selection, bending sequence, tool selection and layout, and data for robot motion and bending. Network functions within the AMNC/PC NT-based control have been upgraded to allow operators to call up complete sets of data from the network server.

The automatic tool changer loads and unloads tools based on programming, with scheduling and all operations automated with the PC and CNC.

The automatic workpiece gripper changer (AGC) and automatic hand changer (AHC) can be exchanged automatically. The AGC can change as many as six different gripper types automatically; the AHC changes to one of four different hands in 25 seconds, states the manufacturer.

A five-axis backgauge provides continuously updated feedback to the CNC. The backgauges follow the robot's movement along the X axis to maintain accurate sensing feedback for multistage bending. Equipped with a Tool Navigator, the backgauge automatically indicates the set positions for both the upper and lower bending tools.

The robotic bending system operates in fully robotic mode in a bending cell or as a conventional press brake using offline programming. According to the company, a single operator can attend up to two cells and a stand-alone press brake.

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