Fully automated CNC material handling solution

     A CNC machining center is designed to be a flexible industrial machining solution that allows its operator to create a three-dimensional finished part out of anything they can draw on a computer utilizing a variety of materials. C.R. Onsrud and B&R have teamed up to develop a high quality, cost effective, and easy-to-use CNC machining center that offers an additional fully automated material handling solution.

C.R. Onsrud, Inc., located in Troutman, North Carolina, offers a comprehensive line of high-precision machining products including over 50 standard models of 3, 4, and 5-axis CNC machining centers, four models of inverted pin routers, as well as a complete line of tooling and accessories. Onsrud CNC machining centers are available in single table, twin table cast-iron fixed bridge and steel frame moving gantry designs.

Since 2005, C.R. Onsrud and iAutomation, the exclusive distributor for B&R control systems in North Carolina, have partnered on CNC machining solutions. One of C.R. Onsrud’s goals was to increase the workflow on their different CNC router series. In 2011, C.R. Onsrud and B&R took their CNC automation to the next level by developing a fully automated material handling solution. The “No Sweat Nesting” solution offers faster and safer handling of the raw material without requiring the operator’s physical intervention. It can be fitted to C.R. Onsrud’s Mate Series, Tech Series, or Pro Series moving gantry style CNC machining centers.

A secondary operator panel adds the functionality of two auxiliary servo drives for positioning the labels on the x and y axes and picking and placing the material.

User-friendly Control Solution

“More than seven years ago, we selected the B&R control system to partner with our machining centers in a synergistic move to further enhance the cutting edge technology and proven reliability that our customers have come to expect when purchasing an Onsrud CNC,“ explains Tom Onsrud, President of C. R. Onsrud, adding: “B&R has continued to deliver a simple, easy-touse, cost-effective control solution that we are proud to offer.“

The fully automated “No Sweat Nesting” material handling solution is a combination of an automated material in-feed system for loading single full sheets of materials, combined with an automated material out-feed system for removing finished parts. In addition, an optional part labeling solution can be incorporated for pre-labeling the parts to be machined while they are still in the sheet of material.

Once the forklift loads a full bunk of material onto a scissor lift, the operator needs only to press the start button to begin. The system will accurately load the CNC machine’s vacuum table, without operator input or intervention, and then initiate the machining cycle. The material out-feed system will offload the parts onto a conveyor system for easy sorting while sweeping the table clean to prepare for the next sheet of material.

Automatic machine loading

A CNC PLC is used for nested control of the automatic pre-labeling and automatic materials loading systems. This system is able to scale to the machines capability through the addition of a secondary control panel with two auxiliary servo drives for the X and Y position of labels and the pick and place of the material. The secondary control panel also features B&R’s X20 I/O, which is IP20 rated, for interfacing with the out-feed conveyor labeler and scissor lift. Additionally, the CPU interfaces with the printer to control the label selection and placement.

The system uses digital I/O to automatically detect and remove any finished parts, scraps, and all dust and debris from the machining area in under 25 seconds. The outfeed table is available for sizes up to 5’X12’, and the system can be operated with multiple software packages that produce standard G-Code.

The scalability of the B&R control systems allows Onsrud’s customers to easily include an automatic material handling solution on their existing CNC machining centers such as the Mate Series. The company was able to add two servo axes and X20 I/O modules using the same CPU as already on the Mate Series. This allows the customer to coordinate the labeling and loading with the CNC machine from one CPU, making it a faster, more cost-effective and efficient solution for the machine owner.

Together with B&R, C.R. Onsrud has developed a system that enables automatic loading and labeling of CNC machining centers. The solution can be easily integrated in existing machines such as the Mate Series.