Don't wait to automate
Previewed at MACH 2018, developing XYZ Machine Tools' Robo-Tend vertical machining centre/
lathe automation solution has, it is admitted, been a more challenging task than initially thought. Now
available, Andrew Allcock saw the equipment in action and here details cost-effectiveness and useability
only £3. People cost money; machines, by comparison, cost
peanuts,” XYZ's managing director underlines, adding that a person
costs some £17.5/hour.
He offers other scenarios: running 40 hours a week, it's
about £5.70/hour; two shifts seven days a week for 50
weeks, that's £2,45/hour; and three shifts seven days
a week for fty weeks gets you £1.70/hour. And if
you bought a system outright, payback in months is
a realistic proposition, it is further highlighted. To
borrow a current car advert catchphrase –
'You do the maths'.
Okay, so on nancial viability, there seems no
argument. But automation can be complex, dif cult/
lengthy to set-up for different parts, tied to a single
machine, preclude non-automated machine use and generally
just a little daunting. Well, that's rather why Robo-Tend took longer to
develop than rst thought. It challenges all of those.
XYZ Machine Tools (
kufaha) has worked with
specialist Adelphi Automation
(https://is.gd/foraqu) on the
unit's development, which is
portable, easy to attach to a
Alignment of the robot
to machine, using tablemounted,
mounted,plus robot's vision system,
together with a distancesensing
At a base price of £60,000-£65,000, Robo-Tend comes in
some £20,000-£25,000 below equivalent existing and
similar devices, XYZ Machine Tools' managing director Nigel
Atherton states. But better than that, he explains just what
that means for a system bought on a ve-year lease
arrangement at 3.5% and with just £5,000 put down
– “Although, you'll de nitely get 10 years out of a
robot; robots don't work as hard as machine tools”.
And regarding nance, it should also be said
that, unlike bespoke automation, Robo-Tend is a
standard, re-saleable product that therefore has a
residual value, making its nancing both more
attractive and much more cost-effective.
So, at a monthly payment of some £1,150, so
£13,800/year, Robo-Tend is, for those ve years, a little
over one-third the cost of employing a man, put at £35,000/year.
Bringing it down to cost per hour, Atherton says that running all year
across an almost-9,000 available hours gives you just £1.5/hour –
“Halve that running time and it's still
Depending on the XYZ machine, there can be up to four auto vices.
Vice set-up requires input of X and Y distance of the vice centre from
a datum position on the machine bed, plus height of the vice pack
and height of the vice jaws. The robot then 'looks' for a target fi xed to
each vice in the defi ned areas, taking about 30 seconds, coping with a
positional variation up to 100 mm
sensing 44 September 2019 www.machinery.co.uk @MachineryTweets