Using a vertical machining center with automation can be difficult when working with parts that need various steps. Different shapes of parts, from adding raw materials to grabbing the finished piece, might need up to four grippers, making the robot less helpful. This is where the MultiGrip™ comes in. It lets you automate multiple parts in one robot cycle, making it easier to work in a setting with many different items but smaller quantities.
The MultiGrip™ is comprised of three main parts:
- Top jaws - These hold your part with three contact points and attach to the base jaws. You'll need to make enough top jaws for each part shape.
- Base jaws - These act as the robot's grippers and hold the top jaws securely, allowing them to move for the best contact with the part. They connect directly to the robot and the vise. You'll need an extra set of base jaws for every set of top jaws.
- Schunk Vise - This holds the base jaws in place while the process happens.
This setup eliminates the need for changing grippers since the top jaws take care of each step. Here's how it works:
- The top jaws attach to the base jaws for each planned step and are put into the machine.
- The robot takes the base jaws, grips the part, and places everything onto the vise for the first step.
- The robot takes the second set of jaws (base jaws + top jaws), grips the part that's been worked on, and moves everything to the second vise for the next step. This flips the part without needing a special station.
- The robot takes the jaws with the finished part, cleans it, puts it back where it started, and repeats the process for the next part.
The MultiGrip™ can be found on our mill-tending Load & Go machines: the RCX and VBX series. Each can store up to eight jaws and automate up to four parts in one go. Keep in mind, these machines are made for many different items but smaller quantities, so parts that take longer will work better than those made in large quantities, especially if they're heavy.
Using the jaws as grippers relinquishes the machinist's need to handle the robot, part or jaws once the RCX or VBX is fully loaded and ready, making it safer and allowing them to focus on other tasks. Automating OP10/OP20 parts saves time and improves your production process. To see the Load & Go and MultiGrip™ in action, check out the video below!