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Shaft Extension of RoboJob proves instant success

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Steven Craenen

Published on

Sep 22, 2015

It is exactly one year ago since RoboJob – the Belgian market leader in the automatic loading and unloading of CNC machines – unveiled three innovations at the German AMB tradeshow.  One of these three innovations was the Shaft Extension, which allows the loading and unloading of shafts on CNC lathes.  This is an extra feature to the Turn-Assist, which already loads disks.  One year later, 17 customers have already purchased the extension.  An instant success.

RoboJob’s Shaft Extension offers the possibility to automatically load and unload shafts on CNC lathes. This innovative solution consists of a configurable rack to be installed on the Turn-Assist, a laser application for the detection of the shafts’ sides, adjustable and reversible two-point grippers for shafts and an extremely user-friendly software extension.

"Since the presentation at the AMB in Stuttgart just one year ago, we were already 17 orders for this option, both from new and existing customers," states Helmut De Roovere. De Roovere is not only the co-founder and -CEO of RoboJob, but also the inventor of the Shaft Extension. And according to him, there are three reasons why the concept proves this successful: "It's all about ease of use, flexibility and accuracy," De Roovere points out.

"With our Turn-Assist and Mill-Assist products, we have already shown that the set-up time of our automation solutions can be limited to only five minutes for a new product. We have applied this short set-up time to the Shaft Extension. This allows you to set up a new type of shaft in no time, as well as up to 4 different operations! The shaft is loaded, and, if necessary, the robot will re-grab the shaft inside the machine, so that it can be taken out of the claws and position it at the correct location. With only one additional click, multiple loading steps can be added, such as further pulling out the shaft, the turning of the shaft or the discharging of the shaft. This allows our customers to completely finish a raw product with minimal set-up time." The positioning of the shafts on the configurable rack is also further simplified, with the means of laser sensor technology. "Thanks to that feature, the operators will no longer need to align the shafts when they put them on the configurable rack. The robot will grab the shaft, position it at a measuring station, and then the software will calculate its exact position. Based on this calculation, all loading steps are carried out with the utmost accuracy."

"In addition, we have managed to further increase our customers’ flexibility with the Shaft Extension. Thanks to our modular concept, any customer can decide for himself what his tailor-made automation solution should look like: with or without Shaft Extension, Pallet Load, Pallet Unload, Turning Unit, Airblow, .. Our customers can purchase our standard products, which can be further completed with standard extensions and options. These are, as it were, building blocks to build a custom automation, which in the end gives each customer his ultimate automation solution that best meets his needs."

Accuracy is also of major importance in the machining industry. "Often it’s the tenths or hundredths of millimeters that determine the quality of the end product of many suppliers and machine builders. And this accuracy is also guaranteed with our Shaft Extension, even with multiple operations.” Thanks to the shaft edge detection, the shafts are always accurately loaded into the CNC machine and you do not need to worry about the accuracy after loading the shaft, pulling out the shaft, or when turning the shaft. In addition, the shafts are not damaged when they are finished, because they are always put back onto the configurable shaft rack, and not in a container with other shafts.

The Shaft Extension allows up to four operations on the same shaft. In the software, the user will need to indicate which are the dimensions of the raw shaft, as well as the dimensions of that same shaft after the first, second, third and/or fourth operation. The software will then automatically calculate where the grippers should seize the shaft to start every next process step, or to rotate or discharge the shaft. This will increase the return on your CNC machine and it will shorten the lead times for your products.

"The fact that now, one year after the launch, already 17 customers have purchased this extension not only demonstrates the quality of our solution for shafts. It also confirms that our customers believe in our modular concept, and that they can build their customized automation, also with this extension. At RoboJob, we are strong believers of this modular concept, and we will continue to further expand its possibilities," concludes De Roovere.

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