RILE tool magazine


We developed and built an automated tool magazine with a customized combination of hardware and software for Kordel Antriebstechnik GmbH in Dülmen.

In order to successfully automate a production, it is important to check all processes carefully and to introduce new ones. At Kordel Antriebstechnik GmbH in Dülmen, gear parts are machined ready for assembly. A crucial aspect of the project was to minimize the set-up times, which take up about a third of the total machine time on the existing stand-alone machines. This proportion should be significantly lower in the automated system. This also includes providing the right tools for each job and assessing whether the remaining service life is sufficient for the upcoming job. The automatic tool magazine from RILE with a unique combination of hardware and software not only brings order to the tool storage, but also ensures that the service life of each individual tool is optimally used.


The tool magazine

The tool magazine is connected to the master computer, which imports and coordinates all orders. The magazine then receives the following order, for example: "In two hours, tools A, B and C for machine 3". If an order only requires a few tools, the control unit provides them on a turntable at the front of the magazine area. For more extensive projects, the device equips a trolley. Each tool carrier has a chip that the operator panel reads. It contains information on the size, diameter, contour and remaining tool life. On the one hand, this ensures that the service life matches the respective order quantity. On the other hand, the magazine has to load the tool carriers in a space-saving manner. Therefore, the contours are stored so that collisions on the turntable or the carriage are excluded. The operator panel also reads the tools that are returned to the magazine after an order. Only sharp, usable tools are stored. In total, the magazine offers space for 1,000 tools. Servo motors, which move the stacker crane at 1.5 m/s, ensure the necessary positioning accuracy.


From nine to three

In the automated tool management, the number of tools must be limited for the system to work productively. If the right tools were put together for each new article before automation, today a small range of tools has to cover a larger range of workpieces. Even with the 1,000 planned tool locations, the variety of parts cannot be mapped. Before automation there were nine different tool lengths; the number is now reduced to three standard lengths. This information then has to be revised in all programs, which is a considerable effort given the 20,000 different items that Kordel manufactures. Internally, it is therefore necessary for all areas to coordinate closely.

More workpieces with fewer tools

In the future, design will have to take into account which tools are available for planned projects so that the system does not have to be adapted for each new component. For this reason, among others, it is also important to know how long the tools can actually be for the respective machine. Here, Kordel tested with its own tools to find out the limits. The construction drawings are used in production to check whether this processing is possible with existing tools. Ideally, tools should be used that run on all five machining centers. Otherwise, a "homemade" bottleneck will arise that will limit the productivity of the system. Tolerances are also an important issue for the automated tool magazine. Since a tool does not always hit the same workpiece, tolerances must be universal. The corridor in which the system moves is correspondingly narrower. Where previously a tool was matched to a workpiece, the tolerance must now apply to all workpieces that the tool machines. A new work is added to the repertoire about once a month. The tool magazine is currently not fully occupied. Practice will show which tools are used a lot and which are used less.

Machining centers and stand-alone machines

The tool magazine serves not only the five machining centers in the automated line, but also the stand-alone machines that machine other workpieces and use other tools. Here the program checks which tools are available. The stand-alone machines are part of the tool management but not of the automation. Here it is planned that an employee runs the machines once per shift and stores sharp tools. This means there is no waiting time when a tool has to be replaced.


RILE Roboter und Anlagentechnik
Mr. Michael Füller, Sales System Integration