Hello Everyone, first time posting, thanks in adavance for any assistance that is provided.
We have an older MG204 machine that we purchased and have been operating since about October of last year. Its been a great machine so far but there have been a couple of instances already with damage done to the rotary ATC due to operator error. The first incident was when a tool was placed in a cradle for which the machine had already loaded a tool from, and when it went to unload the tool a collision resulted and the aluminum bracket that holds the ATC to the gantry was broken and had to be replaced. The cost that time was $300 for a new bracket through Multicam plus about 3 days of down time. The most recent incident is going to be significantly
more costly. The operator was calibrating a fly-cutter tool and while lining up the tool with the calibration block moved the spindle in too close to the ATC without realizing it. He then initiated the zeroing sequence. As the spindle came down it caught the edge of the tool holder tray and continued down without the operator realizing it as he was paying attention to the
proximity between the tip of the tool and the calibration block. The end result is that the force of the spindle on the tray bent the shaft on the gearbox that drives the ATC. We are looking at about $1000 plus 4 weeks to get this part replaced.
I am currently trying to determine all our of options regarding how to reduce incidents like this with the ATC. Here are the things I am considering so far:
Is a linear tool changer possible to install on an MG204? It appears that there isn't enough room at the back of the machine to install a rail but we have even considered shortening the plenum to create the space. I understand that accidents can still happen with the linear tool changer, but it seems that they would be less likely to occur and less expensive to repair.
Would a new rotary ATC setup similar to those that are installed on newer machines be of any benefit to us? Are the parts less expensive, stronger or more readily available? Would it even be possible to install a new rotary ATC on our older machine?
With the rotary ATC collisions between tool holders in both the spindle and cradle resulting from operator error are impossible to avoid, however this will typically only result in the requirement of a new bracket, which is a more acceptale expense. We do however need to avoid damaging more expensive parts like the gearbox in the future. Is it possible to program in a hard limit to how far over the spindle will go on the Y axis to prevent the spindle from
hitting the tray during tool calibration? There is a limit in place when positioning the spindle under "normal" conditions, but this limit is released when calibrating a tool. We would like to keep a limit in place at all times if possible.
If anyone has any experience they could share or any suggestions about what action we might consider it would be much appreciated.