Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Automation: wide range of solutions for Breton machines

No one seems to remember that the machine tool itself it’s an automation! 
Not too many years ago, the NC was the operator brain and robots were still to be invented.
Now the situation is completely changed and in the industrialized area, in order to be competitive, we need to remove the constraint of a ration 1:1 between operator and machine.
The automotive industry started with the massive production of few products, the high technology companies need to do the same with many small batches of complex and different products.

Breton production is dedicated to these customers, providing them solutions capable to run alone 24 hours/day with remote monitoring and control. The electronic and software improvements are a big help to reach this challenging target but they cannot work without a strong and reliable machine automation.
The best way to describe automation solutions that Breton can provide is to show some real applications developed to answer real customer claims:


Customer claim: remove any time spent for machine setup, avoid mistakes due to wrong fixture setuo, disconnect operator setup time from machine operating time.

Solution: Breton designed and supplied to Piaggio Aerospace 6 tailor made Ultrix 800 machining centres featuring special ergonomic solutions for the best workpiece accessibility, each one is equipped with a total of 5 pallets (4 loading stations and 1 high precision setup station) and a manipulator. The result is a multi-pallet solution characterised by a very compact layout. The extreme accuracy of Breton Machine Tools is possible also thanks to the special pallet changer solution, based on a hirth serration that provides higher performances respect to the standard competitors system. Pneumatic, hydraulic and electronic connections can be supplied to the tooling.


Customer claim: strong reduction of cycle time while performing roughing and finishing operations on large size aerospace components.

Solution: Breton supplied to an important Aerospace company a Maxima 1600, fitted with a heads changer system. The head storage hosts a high torque milling spindle (up to 480 Nm and 14,000 rpm) suitable for roughing, and a finishing spindle (up to 94 Nm and 28,000 rpm). The machine is equipped with two bridges and is 16 meters in length, so can be configured to run two pieces together (for example one roughing operation and one finishing operation) or a single long piece removing material with the two heads. Breton Flymill 1600 HD K160 fully achieved the customer requirements providing a strong cycle time reduction together with a perfect flexibility.


Customer claim: avoid long machine stop during the setup operation of a typical aircraft structure big component.   

Solution: this problem can be solved providing a long machine with two separated areas (one for machining and one for piece setup) or by using a table change system. For TAI (Turkish Aerospace Industries) Breton chose the second solution, providing a total of 3  Breton Flymill 1300 2T K30 equipped with a table change system that allow the operator to spend all the time he needs to perform a perfect piece setup while the machine is milling another component on the second table.


Customer claim: the use of multitasking machines has increased the number of requested tools (milling, turning, grinding) but not the available space. Customers want smart solutions.

Solution: one Breton well know key feature is the development of tailor made solutions. We are capable to take the best-in-class tool storage solutions from the market and adapt to the different customer requirements.
One example is the 200 positions tower type tool storage integrated on our Breton
Maxima 1600 (mixing HSK-A100 for milling and Capto C8 for turning) with up to 3500 mm turning capability.
Another solution is the 200 positions tool storage fitted on our Breton Maxima 2000 K80.
Breton designer used the 8 meter machine length to hide the system in the machine footprint. A robot picks up the tool and transfers it to a tool changer avoiding any waiting time.


Customer claim: reduce the features cost and complexity, be sure to remove from the machine a conforming piece.

Solution: the machine probing systems are provided as standard solution by many different competitors. The difference of Breton solution is the strong integration with the machining process and the measuring performances thanks to high machine accuracy. Breton can provide a turn-key solution to check the machine condition before starting operation, perform a perfect piece setup, even on deformed components, machine, measure and automatically correct the part saving all the measurements for statistical analysis. The only thing that the operator has to do is press the start green button. The final result for an important Aerospace customer is a measuring difference between Breton Ultrix and CMM of less than 0,01 mm.


Customer claim: create an automatic machining line to produce tire moulds with a minimum operator surveillance. 

Solution: Breton supplied to an important automotive company three machines, 2 Xceeder 900 and 1 Ultrix 800, with pallet change system served by a robot on rails collecting pieces and fixture from a big storage. Breton was responsible for the complete FMS solution and the final acceptance criteria were very severe but they have been achieved. The robot gives the system an higher flexibility respect to a classical FMS solution, in this way it will be possible to change easily the production in the future.

For further information, please write to
Thanks for your attention!
Sergio Prior