QUEBEC CITY—Responding to labor shortage and supply chain challenges, Robotiq has developed a new preconfigured system that enables manufacturers to automate loading and unloading of CNC machine tools with cobots.

Robotiq’s new Machine Tending Solution lowers implementation costs by up to 50 percent. Engineers can go from unboxing to machining the first part in less than two hours—no coding experience required.

“When a machine shop owner struggles to find employees to do the work, their first instinct is to look for new CNC machines that can run unattended for longer and with shorter changeover times,” says Samuel Bouchard, Robotiq CEO. “But those machines are costly, and this, combined with a longer lead time, makes for a less than ideal solution.”

Robotiq’s system features intuitive automation technology that emulates the machine operator. There is no need to modify or alter the machine controls. Since it’s nonintrusive, the Machine Tending Solution will work with any brand of CNC machine.

“Instead of hard-wiring the machine like with traditional automation, Robotiq’s Machine Tending Solution communication modules are noninvasive and do not require installation by certified technicians,” explains Bouchard. “The solution can be deployed in two to three hours—75 percent faster than with traditional programming.”

The system consists of Robotiq’s Copilot machine tending software, MT controller, pneumatic panel, button activator, air nozzle kit and stacklight detector. A footswitch activator is available for lathe applications. Options include a camera for the robot’s wrist and an adjustable pedestal for mounting the cobot.

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