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Automation & Robotics

As a manufacturer in the United States you already have several global hurdles you jump every day to stay competitive.  You pay the highest tax rate amongst your global competitors.  You have the highest labor rate amongst your global competitors.  You’re constantly battling an increasing shortage of experienced workers. The list goes on and on.  So, how can you compete globally, reduce labor costs, increase plant capacity and quality while decreasing liability?  The answer is automation.  Robots are only one form of automation.  Let Northwest Machine help you find the right automated solutions for your company.


A customer experience to share:

Northwest Machine Technology's automation department fully achieved and exceeded our expectations on project delivery and the overall customer experience. From our initial vision, through development, and finally with installation, the entire Northwest team was helpful and contributed solutions to our many difficult problems. The combination of Mazak machine tools, Fanuc robotics, and Northwest's knowledgeable staff have provided robust systems that generate very favorable returns for our company.



Erik M. Ulschmid

Manufacturing Engineer


Mazak MTS500 Vertical Turning Lathes

Utilizing three Vertical MTS 500 lathes this system allows the operator to select one of 36 different parts with 5 different materials.  Work number search sets parameters for the speeds and feeds of each material as well as internal or external chucking of the part.  A large R-2000 165 FANUC robot handles the parts with 6 different End of Arm Tools; 4.5 inches to 15.5 and a weight range of 2 pounds to 150 pounds.  Three separate infeed’s allow the ultimate flexibility for machines running, set up and manufacturing schedule.  The HMI provides vital information to the set up personnel for each product to be run as well as a way to start and stop the system and general functions of the system.  FANUC 2D iR vision is used above each in feed for part location and orientation.  

3D Picking with QC and SS Shortened

This 3D part picking and fixture change out system, controlled by the robotics HMI, works seamlessly in selecting a part and short run products. Utilizing work number search the robot controls the machine tool and tracks the end of arm tools as well as the fixtures. The one and done philosophy allows the operator to load a pallet of raw material and cut down the side cardboard. An empty pallet is placed into the outfeed station, part is selected and the system is started with the touch of a button. 24 hours later the parts are complete with no operator intervention except for tool wear.








Deburring System

A deburring system that takes the part from the machine outfeed conveyor to the final box pack out. The small but powerful LR 200iC utilizes iR Vision to determine part orientation and places it into a holding fixture. The robot performs a regrip of the part where is it brought to a hole de burr and over to a media wheel. The system has 30 fold to increase the wheel life as well as providing a more consistent part for the end user. Parts are rinsed, dried and placed into the box in a honeycomb pattern for interlocking of the parts for improved part quality during shipping.










Collet Change and Part Removal Final

Utilizing work number search controlled by the robotic systems HMI to change out collets for part set up to simplify the customer’s lives. This simple task brought set-up times from 3-4 hours down to 15 minutes which allows for the just-in-time product runs. The robot is used on larger parts for retrieval from the second spindle and placed onto an out feed conveyor with pocket separation. Once the product has been set up a run once it can be retrieved and run again with the touch of a button and new stock loaded into the completed automated Edge Bar feeder.






Schunk Vero S System

The versatility of the Schunk Vero S system allowed the fixtures placed on to the tombstones to be changed out as quickly as the end of arm tools. Robot controlled work number search and an HMI device allowed the operator to load one of two conveyors with raw product and press cycle start. The part selection made on the HMI was the only other interaction that was required. The robot tracks which fixture is on which pallet, which OP’s have been completed and what end of arm tools are required throughout the process. Parts regrip / flip was also accommodated in the process for raw in finished out part processing. FANUC robotics 2D iR Vision was used over each infeed to insure part pick and placement onto the fixtures was as accurate as possible.


Just for Fun - Robotics in Action!