The HS flex handling system marks the continuation of Hermle AG’s commitment, lasting almost 20 years, to the automation of its machining centres, with the company introducing a powerful, compact and extremely attractively priced automation tool onto the market. Despite not yet being marketed or presented, several units have already been sold, which clearly emphasises the economic benefits that automation represents.
The HS flex handling system is designed to be adaptable to both three-axis and five-axis Performance Line machining centres (C 250 and C 400) as well as to High Performance Line models (ranging from the C 12, C 22, C 32 up to the C42).
The HS flex handling 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. As a result, the entire installation – with all Hermle machining centres also being shipped in a pre-assembled state – is available in a very short time, and the user can start machining with little delay.
The flat mineral casting bed, on which the three axes of the handling unit are operated, offer ergonomically very friendly access for the operator. The two double-leaf doors, which have already proven their functional benefits in Hermle’s robot systems, provide a twofold 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 while also preventing access to the handling unit.
The rotary, lifting and linear axes of the handling unit enable precise movement of the heavy workpieces up to 450 kg, including the pallet, between the setup station, storage modules and the machining centre’s working area. It is 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 beforehand at the setup station, thereby preventing workpieces with dimensions beyond specified dimensions from being fed in.
Particular attention has been paid to the development of the storage modules. 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. Using a specially developed storage generator, which tests both the permitted weights and dimensions (given that a variety of machine models are possible), the storage arrangement can be defined quickly and easily.
The HS flex, the pallet changer and the RS 05 robot system are controlled and managed using the proprietary and convenient Hermle Automation Control System, or HACS. HACS allows for smart order management, which intuitively aids the operator in their 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. When combined with the Hermle Information Monitoring System, which displays machine statues in real time and can be shown on any tablet, desktop or smartphone, these two software tools are collectively a cornerstone of I 4.0-capable deployment of Hermle machining centres.