New CNC Turning Centers, Robotic Arms Boost Company's Efficiency
Canada Metal (Pacific) Ltd., a global supplier of non-ferrous metal products, engineered and machined die castings, and subassemblies for a variety of industries, has recently added two new CNC turning centers and two robotic arms to its casting and machining division in Delta, British Columbia. The new equipment, said to enable Canada Metal (Pacific) to achieve higher levels of efficiency while increasing its capacity to handle higher-volume work, bolsters the company's efforts in its primary industries, including marine, transportation, telecommunications, solar, and agriculture. One of the CNC turning centers is a Mori Seiki NLX 2500, a twin spindle lathe with live tooling.
"It gives us the option to start machining a part by feeding bar stock through a bar feeder," said Bill Jaklin, Jr., sales manager for the casting and machining division within Canada Metal (Pacific), in an interview. "Because of the second spindle, the other spindle can come over and grab the part and move it over to machine the other side of the part, or the remainder of the part. This allows us to do a few more operations in one setup. It keeps things in concentricity and within tolerance, and it saves time with loading and unloading parts."
The other CNC turning center that the company purchased is a Mori Seiki Dura Turn 2050 with a Fanuc M-10iA robotic arm. The machine, which handles parts up to about 8 inches in diameter, was secured for a specific project.
"The robotic arm lets us load and unload the parts automatically, which allows us to keep the cycle times consistent," said Jaklin. "We're ranging anywhere between 40 and 55 seconds per part, depending on the part. Doing this consistently, and having between 15 and 20 minutes of actual manned machine time per hour, allows us to keep this job here in Vancouver, rather than losing the job to competition overseas. We took possession of the new robotic arm and started setting it up in December 2012. We're already in production with a couple of versions of the parts; we have about 15 to 20 different part numbers for our customer. We're going to be able to do a lot of high-volume work with the lathe and the robotic arm together."
Canada Metal (Pacific) has integrated another robot—the ABB IRB-4600—into its foundry division for the open-faced pouring of gravity cast anodes. Before this, Canada Metal (Pacific) had people hand pouring zinc anodes with 500 to 1,000 pounds of metal per day.
"We've set it up on a conveyor line with a program where the robot will ladle the appropriate amount of metal into each mold," Jaklin explained. "It gives us flexibility as far as our throughput and lead times, and reduces our inventory levels. When you have thousands of pounds of anodes being poured every day, if we can keep them off our shelves, make them to order, and get them out in a 24- to 48-hour time period, it helps everybody. The anodes are one of our high-volume jobs."
Headquartered in the Vancouver metro area, Canada Metal (Pacific) offers design assistance, as well as pressure die casting, CNC machining, coatings, and assembly (www.canmet.com).
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