You Don’t Need High-Volume Production to Save Time & Money with Automatic Bar Feeders

High-volume manufacturers have long understood the cost-saving advantages that automatic bar feeders bring to their operations:

  • Reduced cost-per-part as machine operators tend multiple work stations and throughput increases
  • Unattended operation, including lights-out, enabling labor-free and reliable overnight production
  • Faster spindle speeds, throughput, and part quality due to superior bar support and faultless bar loading
  • Improved safety for all shop personnel by enclosing bar stock to prevent injuries

However, there is a misconception among low-volume, high-mix production CNC shops that they have little to gain by adding automatic bar feeders to their turning machines. In fact, today’s automatic bar feeders from LNS enable quick changeovers – with some models taking as little as 1 minute – to keep production moving. LNS automatic bar feeders have easy-to-use touch screen HMIs and hands-off features, such as automatic front rest diameter adjustments.

Perhaps the greatest advantage to shops making a variety of part lengths and features, however, is the ability of LNS bar feeders equipped with the e-Connect Ethernet communications system to share real-time data with a CNC turning machine’s onboard master production schedule.

This means that when the lathe completes a part run, it can look at the production schedule to select the next part to be produced and send this data to the bar feeder. The bar feeder then consults its internal Part Library that stores all of the bar feeder parameters for hundreds of part programs, selects the program that matches the one chosen by the CNC machine’s master schedule, and then automatically adjusts itself to the new program.

As a result, the machine operator simply loads bar stock into the bar feeder and starts the first part program. Now the work cell will produce a variety of parts within the bar stock diameter range completely unattended. In addition, e-Connect keeps the machine tool informed of material usage so if a remnant is too small to make one more of a particular part, a search of the master production program finds another part that can be made from the remnant, thus reducing material waste.

So regardless of the volume and mix of parts a CNC shop handles, the right automatic bar feeder can save setup time, labor and material costs, while enabling unattended and lights-out production of small volume, mixed parts.

To learn more, contact your local LNS representative, call 513-528-5674 or email: