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MEX 2017 HS flex, the flexible handling system

| Editor: Briggette Jaya

Hermle's HS flex handling system marks the continuation of the company's automation of its machining centres. It is a powerful, compact and well-priced automation tool that is not yet being marketed or presented, despite several units having been sold already.

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The HS flex handling system is based on several components, which are supplied and adapted as a complete unit. Seen here is a cross section of the system with the arrangement of the handling unit’s axes.
The HS flex handling system is based on several components, which are supplied and adapted as a complete unit. Seen here is a cross section of the system with the arrangement of the handling unit’s axes.
(Source: Maschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle)

According to the company, HS flex is designed to be adaptable to both the company's three-axis and five-axis Performance Line machining centres (C 250 and C 400) as well as the High Performance Line models (C 12, C 22, C 32 up to the C42).

This system is based on several components, which are supplied and adapted as a complete unit. Only the workpiece storage modules are installed and adjusted on site. Thus, the entire installation is shipped in a pre-assembled state and is also available in a very short time to allow the user to start machining with little delay, Hermle notes.

The flat mineral casting bed, on which the three axes of the handling unit are operated, offers ergonomic access for the operator, the manufacturer explains. The two double-leaf doors provide a two-fold function. During a tool change procedure, they prevent access by the operator, while during machining of the workpiece, they provide access to the working-view position and working area and simultaneuosly prevent access to the handling unit.

Furthermore, the rotary, lifting and linear axes of the handling unit enable precise movement of heavy workpieces weighing up to 450 kg, including the pallet, between the set-up station, storage modules and the machining centre’s working area. It is also possible to handle pallets of up to 500 x 400 mm. To minimise the sources of potential errors for the operator, the maximum workpiece height is queried at the set-up station, thereby preventing workpieces with dimensions beyond specified dimensions from being fed in.

One module is installed as standard and the adaptation of a second module is optionally possible. The modules are structured as a rack, offering maximum customisation potential in the pallet/workpiece arrangement. Up to four rack shelves can be ordered with a total of up to 20 pallet storage spaces per module, providing up to 40 pallet storage spaces when two storage modules are installed.

The HS flex, the pallet changer and the RS 05 robot system are controlled and managed using the company's Automation Control System (HACS). HACS allows for smart order management, which intuitively aids the operator in his daily business via a software solution that can be operated by means of a touch panel.

The transparent representation of the orders and the required participation of the operator help to reduce organisational downtime and maximise the machine’s productivity. It can be used with Hermle's Information Monitoring System, which also displays machine statues in real time. All this data can be shown on any tablet, desktop or smartphone, the company adds.

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