The new Fastems Modular Flexible Pallet System (FPS) enables lights-out manufacturing and high spindle utilisation in high-mix production with 4- and 5-axis milling/mill-turn machines and also compact vertical 5-axis machines.
The modular CNC automation solution handles machining pallets and zero-point plates of 300-630mm and its innovative 360° modular design ensures a fit for any shopfloor – including tight spaces and low-ceiling facilities. FPS can integrate CNCs from over 90 brands and be extended or upgraded if there is a change in production needs.
According to the manufacturer, along with its extensive production planning capabilities, this is what sets the new Fastems FPS apart from other pallet handling solutions. To meet the needs for even the tightest of shopfloor spaces, FPS’ modular design allows machine tools, pallet storage units, and operator loading stations to be placed flexibly on all four sides of the system. With maximum height of only 3.1 - 4.1m, FPS is a perfect fit for vertically challenged factories.
To meet the production needs of high-mix or low-volume manufacturers, the pallet storage modules are configurable and use the vertical space efficiently. From four to 12 pallets can be accommodated in each storage module depending on the load heights – and the top shelf accommodates higher loads if needed. The storage modules can be placed also in the system ends. All the shelving units have an in-built coolant collection system to keep manufactured components and surrounding areas clean.
FPS’ control system is Fastems’ Manufacturing Management Software (MMS) that is designed specifically for high-mix manufacturing needs. It is a tool for everyone working in production or managing it, giving a real-time view of production activities.
Most importantly, it identifies exactly what needs to be done next to ensure timely deliveries and optimum spindle utilisation. Not only does the system consider the pallets that need to be loaded in the machine tools next; but it also checks and ensures that all other machining resources are there in time – NC programs, cutting tools and raw materials. When a rush job is received or anything unexpected happens, MMS automatically adjusts the production plan.
“With 5-axis machining and mill-turn technologies becoming more popular, the automation systems of today need to be able to handle more demanding objects and reach the machine differently. At the same time, manufacturers need to be able to introduce new workpieces fast and produce high mix economically. Flexible Pallet System is designed specifically for this need, and it fits perfectly into a variety of production environments”, explains Fastems’ CEO Mikko Nyman.
“FPS brings the benefits of our recently launched Flexible Pallet Tower but for multiple CNCs. The modular system integrates with a wide variety of milling machines, making the automation investment more accessible especially for directly loaded machines without the automatic pallet changer. We are excited to enable the full flexible manufacturing capabilities for this segment and help manufacturers make the most of their machine tools.”
The first systems will be delivered to the customers during the spring of 2024. More information about the modular solution can be found at the weblink below.