Preparing for Lights Out Manufacturing

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5 Ways to Prepare for Lights-Out Production

Recent advances in barfeeder technology and the growth of inter-machine communications make lights out production for turning applications more attractive and viable than ever before. There are, however, a number of important matters to consider before making the leap. A good place to start is a white paper prepared by LNS and recently published in Production Machining

The article covers these 5 and other important lights-out preparation issues:

  1. Parts to be produced. A single part or a family of parts that can be machined from the same diameter bar stock are great candidates. It’s also possible to machine parts that are ordinarily made from more than one bar diameter.

  1. For overnight operation, you may need to tweak the cutting approach to reduce tool wear, as no one will be there to change worn-out tools.

  1. Your turning machine, barfeeder and unloading system must all be optimized for lights-out production. Reliability is key, of course, which requires robust machine tool and barfeeder construction. All three components should be able to communicate with one another, and the barfeeder should have automatic features that allow it to seamlessly change from one program to another without intervention.

  1. Chip management. Your turning machine and barfeeder may be humming along effortlessly, but a backup of chips can grind production to a halt. Plus, a chip conveyor with inefficient coolant filtration capability could lead to bad parts and damage to the coolant pump.

  1. Data analytics and remote monitoring Thanks to the rapidly expanding world of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) the data exchanged between your turning machine and LNS barfeeder can be used to refine production techniques, reduce material waste and, thanks to a Web server built into the bar feeder, convey real time alerts if problems arise.

The global LNS applications team can work with you to make lights-out production a reality. Contact your local LNS representative to learn more.