The Rotary Transfer Advantage

The multi-station functionality of a rotary transfer machine allows it to take advantage of the productivity benefits of a single setup, as with each index of the rotary table, a part is completed.

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The multi-station functionality of a rotary transfer machine allows it to take advantage of the productivity benefits of a single setup, as with each index of the rotary table, a part is completed. This simultaneous machining is possible because each workstation is dedicated to a specific operation, and, by the time a part has moved around the entire table, it comes off complete. And as lot sizes decrease, CNC technology has provided more flexibility for change-over from one job to another. 

Multi-station horizontal table machines process bar fed or chucked blanks held in collets or chucks around the periphery of the indexing table. Machining modules mounted in an end-feed or cross feed orientation provide the machining action to the usually stationary workpieces.

A trunnion-type design is used for high production of parts of rotation. It uses an indexing wheel mounted in a vertical orientation (like a Ferris wheel) with grippers located around the periphery. These grippers hold the workpiece blank in the center while tool stations from the headstock and tailstock ends of the machine attack both ends of the blank at once. Cross-slide operations can be performed using machining modules mounted perpendicular to the workpiece axis.

The article “Changing Your Comfort Zone” takes us into a shop that took the technological leap from cold heading machines to high volume rotary transfer production. See how the company uses its Hydromat Epic 16-station bar-loaded rotary transfers to meet the production volumes necessary for its automotive customers.

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Changing your Comfort Zone

Through the years, leaders of many companies needed the courage to make the technological leap from machining precision parts on single-spindles to investing in their first rotary transfer machine.