In late 2005 Agemaspark was approached by Hardinge machine tools to offer a concept solution to enable Scunthorpe Corus steel test house to produce their Charpy test pieces.
The scope of the project was to deliver sawn off blanks to controlled data using a bar code control system to machines that can machine a long stick approx 200 mm in length into 3 Charpy test pieces which would be subsequently used to test tensile test pieces to precise British standards. The requirements where to produce 450 parts in a 7.5 hour shift and to run 24 –7 365 days with full tractability through out.
AGEMASPARK design team set about designing an automation system around 3 Hardinge Quest T64 SP these would be fitted with eppinger live tooling turrets. The automation consists of a magazine loading station were a operator places several component parts each with a unique bar code attached that was originally designated via the Corus master computer. They where then transferred via a conveyor to the first bar code reader at this point the information on the bar code was sent to the system control pc at the operator work station to be cross checked with the Alpher master computer for size and type of material hardness, on conformation of this the part continues through a laser measuring system, this was to ensure the correct size of blank was to be assigned to the size of test pieces required (there are 3 sizes 10x10 to 10x7, 5 or 10x5mm) at this point the system PC will decide on which of the 3 machines it will be assigned to. The system will at this point reject any unsuitable parts into the reject chute.
At each machine the barcode is checked a second time to initiate the selection of the part program at the machine and to ensure complete tractability, a bespoke pick and place robotic arm will remove the component from the conveyor and place it into the machine chuck.
The Hardinge lathe will then machine the component into 3 identical test pieces from the same blank, along with outside machining and the crack notch milling a unique 4-digit code number will be engraved on each of the parts, which corresponds with the original barcode, prier to being ejected from the machine to be collected by the operator for testing.
Agemaspark fetched on board as part of the design team a long-standing subcontractor to help with the electrical control of the system. The whole of the automation system is controlled by a bespoke package of software and controlled by a plc designed by Halifax Numerical Control and Admiral Microsystems.
The project was started in October 2006 and was installed into Corus test house in August of 2007 after run up trials and pass of tests at Agemaspark before being rebuilt in Scunthorpe Test House.