EMAG’s TrackMotion Provides Automation in Confined Spaces

On the Right Track—New Automation System for EMAG’s Modular Machines

A uniform machine system with proven technology and integrated automation consistently oriented toward productivity, reliability, and cost optimization—that is the essence of EMAG’s modular machines. They now offer a wide range of technologies from turning, grinding, and hobbing to induction hardening. The TrackMotion automation concept introduced by EMAG continues this tradition, proving every bit as flexible, modular, and productive as the machines themselves.

trackmotion_webThe TransLift, a lift and turnover carriage with programmable electric gripper, races back and forth on a rail. The TransLift covers 160 yards (150 m) in a minute, rapidly conveying the parts between the machines and the part storage facility. It’s evident that EMAG’s TrackMotion automation system constitutes a whole new way of thinking about automation—a way of thinking that puts the focus firmly on the individual part.

A close look at the TrackMotion automation system reveals engineering that is both strikingly simple and ingenious. Essentially, the system consists of just two components, the rail system or “track” that gives it its name, and the lifting and rotating “TransLift” unit that moves along that track. The TransLift is also what makes this system so flexible since it not only transports the part, but can rotate it as well and is equipped with a Z-axis that permits lifting up to 25.5 inches (650 mm). This allows the use of stackers for infeed and outfeed, or the deployment of measuring and marking stations at different heights along the track. The track itself is positioned at the rear of the machines, right behind the machining area. To make room for it, the modular machines’ energy container has been offset from the rest of the machine body. The resulting “tunnel” behind the machines now permits speedy transportation of parts on the track. This extremely close arrangement of automation system and machine makes it possible to construct manufacturing systems in very tight spaces—one of the many advantages of the TrackMotion automation system.

Like EMAG modular machines, the TrackMotion automation system is modular in structure. The rail system is assembled from four different tracks with lengths of 94.5, 47, 23.5, and 12 inches (2400, 1200, 600, and 300 mm). Standardized end pieces are fitted at the start and end, containing the electric motors for the horizontal movement of the TransLift. The TransLift itself is offered in two different versions to cater to the range of workpieces processed by the modular machines.

As you would expect, the electric gripper can be programmed easily to adapt it to the diameter of the specific workpiece. But the perfect compatibility of the two modular systems is not limited to their physical structure alone. Thanks to matched interfaces, setup of the entire system is extremely easy and can be carried out centrally from the machine control unit. For instance, the TransLift receives the information about the transported workpiece (such as its diameter) directly from the machine control and is programmed accordingly. The part determines the size and number of the machines and the technologies required, and the TrackMotion automation system is then simply adapted to the length of the manufacturing system and the diameter of the part, considerably simpler than comparable solutions with conventional automation products.

Systematic manufacturing—TrackMotion in action

A complete manufacturing system with TrackMotion consists of three perfectly coordinated units: the modular machines, the TrackMotion automation system, and the infeed and outfeed conveyors. These conveyors, which act as storage units for the parts, can be laid out flat (for large workpieces) or in a three dimensional structure as “stackers” for smaller workpieces. The latter option, in particular, offers top performance in a very small space, allowing several hundred workpieces to be stored ready for processing. The machines themselves are usually equipped with an L-shuttle automation component, which transports the parts to and from the pick-up station. With only a few workpieces on the move at any given time in the entire system, the status of every single workpiece can be ascertained on demand. This dramatically simplifies quality management, as parts with deviating values are easy to identify.

With the TrackMotion automation system, EMAG impressively demonstrates how real added value can be created by taking clever ideas and turning them into a perfectly engineered reality. That was already the case in the development of the modular machines and has been taken further with the new TrackMotion automation concept. Developing complete manufacturing systems has never been as easy as it can be now by combining the modular machines with the TrackMotion automation system.

For more information visit, www.emag.com.

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