Improving machine autonomy
Founded in 1923 in Switzerland as a mechanical repair shop, STRAUSAK, today a subsidiary of ROLLOMATIC HOLDING SA, served the watch making industry until diversifying its product range in the early 1970’s. Since 1973, the company has been producing high precision tool grinding machines for the textile, electronics, automobile and aerospace industries. Active in 23 markets, STRAUSAK delivers more than 500 grinders each year to customers around the world.
For several years running, STRAUSAK’s 5 Axis CNC-Tool Grinding Machine, known simply as U-Grind, has been providing customers with a reliable, efficient and highly accurate system for their grinding and re-sharpening needs. Designed essentially for small batch sizes, U-Grind’s limited tool charging capacity restricts its autonomy to shorter working cycles, a problem for the growing number of customers wanting to run their machines throughout the night.
“The challenges facing STRAUSAK were many: automate U-Grind so that it had the necessary capacity — and autonomy — to run unattended, while maintaining the same high level of precision and flexibility, says Alexandre Condrau, Managing Director at Strausak. It was also important not to add cumbersome extensions that would increase its surface area on the shop floor. And finally, a robotic solution had to be simple enough for operators to run by themselves.”
A perfectly integrated robot arm
“Integrating a 6-axis machine with its own commands and without taking lots of space is a true puzzle”, explains Pierre-Alain Badoud, Director of R&D at STRAUSAK. But that’s exactly the solution the company found with Stäubli’s TX60L series, an option to the U-Grind that has been available since June 2015.
Because the robot is totally integrated into the machine enclosure, it doesn’t take up additional floor space. It also sits outside the machine working area, giving operators unrestricted access for set up.
The TX60L has a considerably w