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ROBO-TEND at your service

21 August 2019

Previewed at MACH 2018, XYZ Machine Tools’ innovative ROBO-TEND modular and mobile robot automation system for vertical machining and turning centres has undergone in-depth development

ROBO-TEND is a robot-based automation cell with camera vision system that brings true robot automation within the reach of traditional sub-contract engineering businesses. The system is fully compatible with the Siemens ShopMill and ShopTurn controls used on XYZ’s VMC’s and turning centres. The camera vision system makes use of Fiducial markers on up to four vices on the table of a machining centre along with similar markers in the component storage drawers. This means that positioning of components or vices is not critical for efficient functioning of the system.

In line with XYZ Machine Tools’ philosophy of making machine control straightforward the ROBO-TEND interface has been developed to make programming the automation process as easy as possible. The operator simply enters the dimensions of the billets, whether they are round or square, then the control system calculates the location pin positions within the drawers, along with optimum stack height. The ROBO-TEND controller then communicates with the Machine’s Siemens control to select the correct part programme and unmanned operation can commence. Automation is now fast, straightforward and affordable for all, with payback possible in just a few months of operation calculated if purchased outright, or the option of finance from £2.00/hour.

Automation is now fast, straightforward and affordable for all

The modular design of ROBO-TEND means it can be adapted quickly and easily to suit changing working situations. Central to the system is the self-contained KUKA Cybertech KR10 R1420 robot, with a rated total load of 10kg (larger capacity robots are available), managed via the KUKA KRC4 compact robot controller. This operates within a moveable compartment that is in turn attached to the drawer system where billets and finished parts are stored. This mobility means that ROBO-TEND is not restricted to one machine, it can be relocated to wherever it is needed in the factory. The versatility of ROBO-TEND means that it is equally at home servicing a machining centre as it is a turning centre, features such as component ‘flipping’ for second operation work are also available.

Typically, there are four storage drawers in a ROBO-TEND system, with each drawer capable of holding a maximum of 90 kg of material, with a maximum billet height of 120 mm. With the robot camera vision system identifying the location of the parts in the drawers, which the robot opens and closes automatically, the parts can be loosely placed within the location pins, with the system calculating the actual pick-up point. Now, with robot and storage units connected, the guards interlock and create a safe working environment for the robot. If access is required to the machine table for setting or maintenance purposes, the robot is positioned in a safe parking position and becomes in-operative, allowing ease of access. If greater access is required, ROBO-TEND can be disconnected and wheeled away utilising its modular and mobile features.

Lower volumes viable

“Robot automation is nothing new, but for many the perception is that it is only suitable for high volume production environments, such as the automotive sector. The XYZ ROBO-TEND system addresses this perception and makes automation viable for lower volume production,” says Nigel Atherton, Managing Director XYZ Machine Tools. “The driver for this development was that the availability of skilled labour is a major issue that will not disappear and automation of lower skilled jobs, such as machine loading, is an obvious way of addressing this for small to medium sized businesses. This frees up valuable skills and manpower to add value further down the line. We have taken our time to ensure that ROBO-TEND is fully functional, delivers the ease-of-use that will make it a viable choice, whatever the machining environment. We are confident, that with our partner Adelphi Automation we have created a solution to that will open up automation to a much wider audience at a very competitive price.”

“ROBO-TEND provides a versatile, user-friendly, modular approach to companies that need to improve productivity, but are struggling to find the personnel to operate machines. Depending on the component ROBO-TEND can be left unattended for a full shift, or even operate 24/7 with the only manual intervention being to restock the raw material in the part storage system. Here customers have the option of a second drawer system, which can be pre-loaded and ready to slot into place to further improve set-up time and logistics.”  

Key Points

  • The modular design of ROBO-TEND means it can be adapted quickly and easily to suit changing working situations
  • The versatility of ROBO-TEND means that it is equally at home servicing a machining centre as it is a turning centre
  • Features such as component ‘flipping’ for second operation work are also available


ROBO-TEND launch

We are pleased to announce Presentations for the upcoming ROBO-TEND Launch.

Tuesday 10th September Devon HQ 9.00am -12.00 Noon.

Thursday 12th September Nuneaton Technical Centre 9.00am -12.00 Noon.

ROBO-TEND is the result of 2 years of design and development, it is a system and solution to automated machine tending, buying a Robot is easy, making it work properly and profitably for you is a different ball game.

The whole concept was to be able to run jobs in small medium or large batches without full time operator attendance. The simple control makes job set up easy and intuitive, so even running just a few hours after the normal shift can produce big financial reward.

Come along and see how ROBO-TEND could increase your productivity and profitability.