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Although the most common way to automate a turning center is with a bar feeder, there are many other ways to add automation to a turning operation. Articulating-arm robots and fixed-rail Cartesian robots are also popular forms of automation. In addition, different kinds of “hard” automation, engineered with cylinders, slides and so on, can be placed in front of any turning center or may be custom designed for a specific application.
Automation systems can be configured to support many different requirements, including applications involving high volume parts as well as those with high mix/low volume parts. Shops turning large, heavy parts can also benefit from automation. Manufacturers with families of parts, including those with small lot sizes, are also candidates for automation.
To read several examples of efficient automated options for different kinds of turning applications, go to “Practical Automation for a Variety of Turning Applications.”
“Modular Automation Package for Turning Machines” describes the application of a modular robotic automation cell for flexible part loading/unloading of turning machines. The system is designed to allow shops, even with no automation experience, to install without the help of a third party automation house.