Wednesday, October 18, 2017
IMTS 2016 Show Daily

A Model of Efficiency

September 15, 2016 / , Editorial Director, Modern Machine Shop

Sometimes the best way to size up new technology is to have a way to downsize it. That's the idea behind the 1:10 scale model of the multi-level Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) in Fastems’ Booth S-9178. The scale model makes it possible to see all of the interacting components of the multi-level concept, including such features as the high-density pallet storage and retrieval system, the traveling stacker crane, and the accommodations that suit many types and configurations of machine tools, to name a few.

“A full-sized FMS like this (which wouldn't fit in the booth anyway) might be too much to take in, so its flexible configurability, easy expendability and efficient pallet-transfer movements might be obscured by the sheer scope of it,” says Robert Humphries, the West Chester, Ohio, company’s international sales manager.

However, the model is fully operational. It can demonstrate the MMS5 (Manufacturing Management Software, fifth generation) that controls the multi-level FMS. Of course, this software doesn't need to be miniaturized, unless you think of the simulation features available in the operator interface as a kind of digital scale model. In fact, this "full-sized" FMS control software can be used at the model to show how it handles more than just the tasks of coordinating pallet transfers, directing crane movements and managing other automated operations. MMS5 also integrates such control functions as dynamic job scheduling to react to changing production requirements, keeping track of tool cutting time, monitoring NC program performance and reporting on device status.

Show attendees who want to size up additional Fastems automation systems can find them in other booths. The company is introducing its brand-new expandable FMS One in Okuma America Corp.’s Booth S-8500. Likewise, a Fastems FPC-1500 flexible pallet container system is integrated with two Niigata machining centers in SNK America’s Booth S-8936. At both locations, these automated cells are using the latest generation of control software. Fastems personnel are on hand in all three booths to demonstrate and explain the systems, along with help visitors assess whether increasing automation in their companies makes sense and how different degrees of automation can be achieved with the appropriate automation system. 

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