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Automatic Pallet Changer Eliminates Unnecessary Spindle Downtime

Pallet changer system added to a machining center enables unattended machining.

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Automatic pallet changer increases productivity.

Automatic pallet changer increases productivity.

Midaco’s automatic pallet changers are designed to increase CNC machine efficiency by minimizing spindle downtime and easing demands on the operator’s time, thereby increasing productivity. This automated shuttle system can be integrated with the machine tool’s control panel via M codes to transfer part-loaded pallets unattended onto a receiver mounted directly to the VMC or bridge mill table. The operator can focus on other tasks while the pallet transfers in seconds when the cycle is complete, virtually eliminating spindle idle time. The operator can then return to the machine to load the next batch of parts on the alternate pallet outside the VMC while the machining center continues cutting. With no overhead obstruction, an automatic pallet changer system added to a machining center eliminates the need to stop the machine for manual part loading and allows for large-part crane loading directly onto the shuttle while the machine continues cutting.

All system models are available with an optional light curtain for CE compliance. This 3-sided guarding includes a light emitter, mirrors and sensors to prevent a pallet change if the invisible light beams surrounding the shuttle system are breached. Once the obstruction is removed, the pallet changer will resume automatically. The systems can be installed on the right or left side (or both sides for dual shuttle systems) of new or existing machining centers with travels from 22" × 14" (558.8 mm × 355.6 mm) up to 190" × 72" (4826 mm × 1,829 mm), and provide up to a 32,000-lb (14,528 kg) weight capacity with parts evenly distributed on the pallet. Automatic pallet changers are servo driven and designed to offer a fast pallet change time. Depending on the part size and weight, a pallet change can be as little as six seconds on a VMC with a 22" × 14" (558.8 mm × 355.6 mm) travel to just a few minutes on large bridge mills. Automatic pallet changer systems are also available for large and small machining centers which do not move in the Y axis.

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