RoboJob presented its new Tower for the first time at the EMO Hannover in 2017. Whereas the company had previously always focused on building solutions for product loading, RoboJob went a step further with the Tower. "With the Tower that we presented at the EMO trade fair at the time, we went in a completely new direction," recalls CEO Helmut De Roovere. "With this automation, you can load products as well as exchange pallets. The big advantage here is that the solution is built vertically, which gives you more than 10m² of storage space. And yet the Tower only takes up 1.4m² on the floor."
Since 2017, many additional features have been launched, including the ability to exchange clamping devices. "Today, the possibilities are indeed much greater. It is not only about exchanging workpieces and pallets, but also clamping devices such as Hainbuch clamping bus systems, "chuck faces" from Kitagawa or even the individual claws from Schunk or SMW Autoblok. This increases the autonomy of the machine significantly, and makes it perfectly possible to engage in the autonomous production of high mix, low volume."
30th installation at Platteau Subcontracting
This past week, RoboJob completed the installation of a Tower on a Mazak Integrex J-200 S. In doing so, the company completed the thirtieth installation of a Tower on its own soil, at Platteau Subcontracting from Poperinge (Belgium). In this installation, the robot automatically exchanges the individual jaws of the SMW Autoblock clamping jaws. Pieter Cappoen, Business Manager of Platteau Subcontracting, is already over the moon: "With the Tower, we are taking another important step in the progress of our company, given that we’re striving to increase the autonomy of our machine park. For us, the key to success is the Tower with servo grippers and jaw change in combination with a machining centre with sufficient tools. In our case, it’s a Mazak Integrex J-200 S. That combination allows us to create a programme just once, fill the Tower with raw components, and then literally push Start. The rest works by itself: the robot completely converts the machine and itself. It changes the jaws of the chuck and can use its different gripping heads to finish pieces from 10mm diameter to 200mm diameter at a time.
Catching up in Belgium
The thirtieth installation of a Tower took place in Belgium, so Belgium is certainly not lagging behind when it comes to CNC automation. “On the contrary,” says Helmut De Roovere. “We’ve noticed that we’ve been catching up in the past year. Belgians sometimes adopt a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to new technology. But in the meantime, the usefulness of CNC automation has been proven, and Belgian entrepreneurs are also aware of this. Since the Corona virus struck, we’ve also noticed an increase in requests and orders from Belgian customers. Platteau Subcontracting has been a customer for some time. Six years ago, for example, we installed a Turn-Assist 250 on a Mazak QTN 350, and of course it’s still running.”
The other 29 RoboJob Tower installations are spread across Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Liechtenstein, Italy, Switzerland and Israel.