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Fastems automation at THINK
Fastems automation at THINK
Fastems automation at THINK

Fastems automation at THINK

Added to MTDCNC by MTDCNC on 21 October 2014

At the recent THINK: Production 2014 event co-hosted by Tornos & Matsuura, the innovation leaders for the machine tool industry invited 'technology partners' to participate in the event. For MTDCNC, one that definitely caught our eye was the  demonstration from Fastems Factory Automation.

A first time exhibitor at the event, Fastems manufactures and supplies full Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) and robot cells to the metal cutting industries to automate the manufacturing, metrology and finishing processes. This can include anything from automated pallet handling, automation software, deburring & finishing, automated machine tending, tool storage & steel coil storage solutions and much more.

Founding its claim that Fastems works with all leading machine tool manufactures to develop world leading automation solutions, the company is recognised as the largest Fanuc robot integrator in Europe. Located next to a Matsuura machining centre at the Open House event, Fastems neatly demonstrated its wide variety of expertise - encapsulating its specialities in a scaled down automation system. The model environment and attached automation software demonstrated how a Matsuura machining cell can be fully automated by Fastems to produce a production schedule, check the cell for materials, pallets, cutting tools and above all - provide complete control of the process. Furthermore, if required, Fastems can introduce CMM's/quality control stations, component cleaning stations, part marking and much more.

In years gone by, the UK has seen billions of pounds of manufacturing business leave our shores for low cost Far East economies. The Fastems philosophy is to create a greater awareness of the benefits and potential for automated production. Essentially, we can automate to compete or continue to lose business on the grounds of cost. At the event, MTD spoke with Fastems UK's Sales Manager, Mr Nick Statham to dig a little deeper into the key benefits of integrating a Fastems automation package.

Highlighting the potential, Mr Statham said: 'There are 8760 hours in a calendar year. High-end production facilities with automated or pallet loaded machine tools will achieve a maximum of 4,500 to 5000 hours of production each year. This will be because of constraints such as labour, material and production scheduling, machine set-ups, downtime and a number of other factors. At Fastems, we can increase this perceived high production rate by 50% to deliver a solution capable of hitting over 7,500 hours of production each year. For the customer, this means a machine utilisation rate of 100%. A typical example of a successful installation is at a globally renowned UK aerospace engine manufacturer. They were manufacturing 20 complex components each week in a particular cell, by integrating our system we upped production to 100 parts each week.'

These figures are a typical example of a machining cell that demands flexibility - a cell that will be conducting varied volume rates with numerous component types. For long series production runs of the same or similar components, Fastems can incorporate its expertise and bespoke software packages with system integrators like Fanuc robotics to deliver a solution unique to the end user. As Mr Statham concluded: 'Whatever the manufacturing scenario or industry sector, we can tailor a solution to increase productivity through automation. Furthermore, by integrating additional production processes into system, Fastems can improve quality, consistency and process reliability as well as overall production rates whilst reducing costs. We can boast a payback period of less than two years in most cases. At the Matsuura event, our solutions have been demonstrated to high calibre aerospace manufacturers and it has been well received based on our track record and the quantified facts.'

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