ORT Italia’s innovative approach to rolling machines does not stop thanks to FANUC controls
Italy is a country specialising in precision mechanical engineering, where many challenging, niche applications have a requirement for sound technological know-how. This is the case with rolling, a chip-less machining process for the creation of threads and the superfinishing of component surfaces that involves feeding the workpiece between continuously rotating rollers.
ORT Italia equips its rolling machines with FANUC CNC solutions, particularly model 0i-TF (now also available in the new Plus version) with special functions for turning and the potential to control up to nine axes. ORT 2RP series rolling machines with two axes - which produce high-precision details such as ball screws, worm gears and special profiles - recently adopted the FANUC 0i-TF control.
FANUC’s partnership with ORT Italia, a company committed to high quality, facilitates the design of fast, accurate rolling machines with essential competitive advantages such as shorter time-to-market and the development of exclusive technological solutions. These factors help to make ORT an outright leader in its sector.
ORT Italia is the leader company for the production of 4.0-ready high precision rolling machines with 2/3 rollers, exporting over 4,000 units worldwide.
The rolling process is highly appreciated in aerospace (e.g. for the production of crack-free screws), automotive (splines, i.e. the teeth and knurling on crankshafts), building (threading for steel rods), railway (square head screws for fixing the rail to the sleepers), oil & gas (fin tubes, rods), wind power and offroad sectors (earthmoving and agricultural machines), not least because of the reduced cost of the rolled product.
“Now that rolling machines are produced all over the world, competition is really fierce”, points out Narinderjit Singh, Technical Manager at ORT Italia. “But when extreme materials such as Inconel have to be machined, only companies with our level of expertise are able to provide appropriate solutions".
A complete range with customised solutions
ORT Italia supplies many different types of rolling machine: single-slide, with two and three rollers, spline, hot-sleeper, burnishing, and finning. Each machine has proved its suitability for undertaking various types of processing and threading, with both standard or complex materials, and featuring different workpiece diameters. The company’s machines can complete complex machining processes in extremely competitive cycle times to help reduce component costs.
The heart of rolling machine control
It is possible to control rolling machines by PLC or CNC. The latter offers incomparable accuracy thanks to better reproducibility, continuous process management and the potential to intervene at any point in the process.
“Introducing the FANUC controls has allowed us to gain a significant competitive advantage for our machines, as these CNs allow us to meet requirements that were beyond our reach in the past when we relied on controls made by other suppliers. We can set the machine straight away, reducing programming times”, says Singh.
The FANUC 0i-TF control was recently used on Series 2RP 2-sled rolling machines, used to manufacture high-precision details such as ball screws, worm gears and special profiles; it is an extremely strong, compact machine, which can be completed with automatic loading systems and all kinds of automation.
It is also very easy to manage the aerodynamic control unit by moving the sleds using the Analog Servo Adapter module with analog output managed and controlled directly by the axis card.When the control has to cover 3 sleds, as is the case with Series 3RP, it becomes even more important to rely on a powerful CNC in order to synchronise 3 heads inclined orthogonally at 120°.
The part played by the operators
Last but not least, the FANUC controls now offer an iHMI user-friendly interface which can display the CNC functions simply and intuitively. Silvia Miglioli, Sw developer at ORT Italia, was responsible for using FANUC Picture to produce the customised interface.
As this is the first use of a FANUC control, the support provided by FANUC technicians has proved invaluable.
“Thanks to FANUC staff and the Ladder Programming and Robot Training courses, together with the user manual, which was already clear in itself, it took just a few months to get to grips with the Fanuc controls from scratch and manage them with a level of autonomy that I never would have thought possible," states Silvia.
The prompt assistance provided by FANUC has allowed ORT Italia to offer customers a prototype of the required rolling machine in a really fast time with invaluable benefits in terms of ultimate satisfaction. “What’s more, now that we have a better understanding of the FANUC controls we will be able to speed up even more with the next project, having learned and understood what is needed to program the machine according to our specifications".
Total robot servo-control automation
The 2RP rolling machine is also controlled by a FANUC M-20iA/35M anthropomorphic robot (with payload of 35 kg and reach of 1,813 mm), sharing the same programming environment with the CN hence simplifying and accelerating integration. The ONE FANUC approach allows companies such as ORT to take advantage of the benefits of one single reliable and expert contact like FANUC, for the design phase for ad hoc solutions as well as after-sales support. The machine loading/unloading robot allows several sessions to take place, with maximum benefits in terms of shortening cycles.
Total robot servo-control automation
A FANUC M-20iA/35M robot also serves the 2RP series, providing maximum benefits in terms of shorter cycles. The unique ‘ONE FANUC’ approach allows companies to take advantage of having a single reliable contact for the customised design phase, as well as after-sales support.