Automation not just for the ‘big guys’

IN THE PAST many people believed that implementing automation systems and particularly robotic solutions was only possible at large organisations.

IN THE PAST many people believed that implementing automation systems and particularly robotic solutions was only possible at large organisations.

This view has however been disproved by a number of small to medium sized companies, one such company being QMN Manufacturing (QMN).

QMN which is located in ­Ayr, Queensland manufactures a wide range of hydraulic cylinders on a number of Mazak CNC machines.

In 2004, Managing Director Charlie Quagliata approached John Hart Automation & Robotics (JHA&R) to talk about how robots could be utilised to improve his manufacturing operations.

With a shortage of local labour and the objective of reducing his manufacture costs, JHA&R sat down and worked with Charlie to identify which operations in his factory could be automated.

Since these initial discussions QMN has been able to successfully automate many of their operations.

Their first project involved a Fanuc R2000iA/165F which automatically loads blank clevis parts into a Mazak lathe.

This use of the robot removed in OH&S issues, achieved consistent up time and was able to work longer hours than previously achieved.

After this initial success QMN looked to their welding operations where they were able to implement a Fanuc Arc mate 100i to weld cylinders to end caps.

Again this installation proved successful with an increase in process productivity and improved part quality.

Their third project utilised a Fanuc R2000iA/165F robot to load a Mazak machine with lengths of tube which are machined into cylinders.

Prior to machining the robot measured the tube length and honed the bore. Again this cell proved very successful by increasing process reliability and part quality.

QMN’s fourth and most recent project utilises a Fanuc R2000iB/165F robot to handle polished bar which is loaded into a Mazak Quick Turn Nexus 250-II machine.

The part has to be measured prior to loading and as polished bar is being used the robot gripper was fitted with special soft jaws to prevent damage during handling.

All four projects at QMN have been designed and installed by JHA&R and have produced significant improvements in product quality and process productivity.

As we now compete on the world stage, companies like QMN lead the way by embracing the latest technology to help them achieve greater success.

For more information contact

John Hart: markd@johnhart.com.au

QMN: qmnman@tpg.com.au