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Title:
AN APPARATUS & METHOD FOR CATCHING PARTED-OFF JOBS IN A CNC MACHINE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/193611
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention provides a smart apparatus and method for catching parting-off jobs in CNC machine. The smart apparatus comprises a 2-Axis gantry arm with an attached customized job catcher, and a rotatable gripper. The gantry arm reaches the parting off zone just before the parting off starts. The job catcher holds the job while it is being parted off of a bar stock. The gantry arm retains the original orientation and position of the job in which it is parted off. Further, the arm moves around the axes and brings the parted-off job close to gripper. The gripper rotates the job to bring it into correct orientation and position; drops the job in the same orientation and position in an exit chute, from where the job is transferred by a robot to a desired location, such as next machine, spindle or station, in the same orientation and position.

Inventors:
SARUP, Siddhant (C-86, Phase V Focal Point, Punjab, 141010, IN)
SARUP, Gaurav (C-86, Phase V Focal Point, Punjab, 141010, IN)
SARUP, Prashant (C-86, Phase V Focal Point, Punjab, 141010, IN)
Application Number:
IN2019/050283
Publication Date:
October 10, 2019
Filing Date:
April 05, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SARUP, Siddhant (C-86, Phase V Focal Point, Punjab, 141010, IN)
International Classes:
B23Q3/00; G05B19/18
Foreign References:
EP2868432B12016-08-10
US20050036879A12005-02-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AILAVADI, Rajan et al. (CIP LEGIT, Intellectual Property Counsels,243, Tower-B, Spazedge, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 8, 122018, IN)
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Claims:
im:

1. A system for catching parted-off jobs in a CNC environment, comprising:

a gantry arm movable around multiple axes of direction; and

a job catcher, attached to the gantry arm, for grasping a job during its parting -off operation from a CNC machine, wherein the system for catching the parted off jobs is configured to:

move the gantry arm, around the multiple axes of direction, in order to bring the gantry arm towards the job, just before the parting-off operation starts; move the job catcher, towards the job being parted-off, along with the gantry arm; grasp the job, using the job catcher, during the parting-off operation; and catch away the job, after the parting-off operation, by moving away the gantry arm along with the attached job catcher, around the multiple axes of direction, from the CNC machine, and

wherein the gantry arm and the attached job catcher move and grasp the job being parted-off, in a way to retain position and orientation of the job same as during and after the parting-off operation, thereby avoiding altering the position and orientation of the job while the job catcher grasps and catches away the job.

2. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the gantry arm is movable around multiple axes of direction, including and not limited to a Y-axis and a Z-axis.

3. The system as claimed in claim 2, wherein the gantry arm follows an approaching path along the multiple axes of direction for bringing the gantry arm and the job catcher close towards the job in the CNC machine, just before the parting-off operation starts.

4. The system as claimed in claim 3, wherein the gantry arm follows a return path along the multiple axes of direction for moving away the gantry arm and the job catcher from the job in the CNC machine, after the job is caught by the job catcher.

5. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the job catcher has a shape of, including and not limited to, a catch pin for grasping a job with a hole, or a catch bush for grasping a job without a hole, and the other shapes depending on shapes and sizes of the jobs.

6. The system as claimed in claim 1 further includes a gripper, rotatable around multiple axes of rotation, for holding the job from the job catcher, after being parted-off, while retaining the same position and the orientation of the job as maintained by the job catcher.

7. The system as claimed in claim 6, wherein the gripper rotates the job, changing the position and orientation of the job into a desired position and orientation of the job.

8. The system as claimed in claim 6, wherein the gripper drops the job in an exit chute, and the job slides on the exit chute under the effect of gravity to reach a robot pick-up zone for being picked up by a robot.

9. The system as claimed in claim 6, wherein the gripper passes the job to a robot for taking the job to a next machine, or a next CNC spindle or a next work station.

10. The system as claimed in claim 1, comprising of the gantry arm and the job catcher, lies outside the CNC machine during a machining operation and enters through a roof hatch only just before the parting-off operation commences, keeping the gantry arm safe from chips.

11. A method for catching parted-off jobs in a CNC environment, comprising:

moving a gantry arm around multiple axes of direction to bring the gantry arm towards a job about to be parted-off from a CNC machine;

moving a job catcher, attached with the gantry arm, towards the job about to be parted-off, as the gantry arm moves along the multiple axes of direction; grasping the job, using the job catcher, during parting-off operation of the job; and

catching away the job, after the parting-off operation, by moving away the gantry arm along with the attached job catcher, the gantry arm moves away, along the multiple axes of direction, from the CNC machine, and

wherein the gantry arm and the attached job catcher retain position and orientation of the job same as during and after the parting-off operation, thereby avoiding altering the position and orientation of the job while the job catcher grasps and catches away the job.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein the gantry arm moves towards the job and the CNC machine just before the parting-off operation starts.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein the gantry arm is movable around multiple axes of direction, including and not limited to a Y-axis and a Z-axis.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the gantry arm follows an approaching path along the multiple axes of direction for bringing the gantry arm and the job catcher close towards the job in the CNC machine.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the gantry arm follows a return path along the multiple axes of direction for moving away the gantry arm and the job catcher from the job in the CNC machine.

16. The method of claim 11, wherein the job catcher has a shape of, including and not limited to, a catch pin for grasping a job with a hole where the catch pin inserts into the hole to grasp the job, or a catch bush for grasping a job without a hole, and the other shapes depending on shapes and sizes of the jobs.

17. The method of claim 11 further includes passing the job, from the job catcher to a gripper, able to rotate around multiple axes of rotation; and dropping the job to a desired location, including at least one of a next machine, or a next CNC spindle or a next work station or a robot pick-up zone, or in an exit chute, where the job slides on the exit chute under the effect of gravity and reaches a robot pick-up zone to be picked up by a robot, and wherein the gripper, while holding the job, retains the same position and the orientation of the job as maintained by the job catcher.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the rotatable gripper rotates the job, after holding the job from the job catcher, and changes the position and orientation of the job into a desired position and orientation of the job.

19. A smart system for catching parted-off jobs in a CNC environment, comprising:

a gantry arm movable around multiple axes of direction;

a job catcher, attached to the gantry arm, for grasping a job during its parting -off operation from a CNC machine; and

a gripper, rotatable around multiple axes of rotation, for holding a parted-off job from the job catcher, and wherein the smart system for catching the parted off job is configured to:

move the gantry arm around the multiple axes of direction to bring the gantry arm towards the job and the CNC machine; move the attached job catcher, towards the job being parted-off, along with moving of the gantry arm;

grasp the job, using the job catcher, during the parting-off operation of the job; catch away the job, after the parting-off operation, by moving away the gantry arm, along with the attached job catcher, from the CNC machine, the gantry arm moves away along the multiple axes of direction; and

pass the parted-off job from the job catcher to the gripper, and

wherein the gantry arm, the attached job catcher, and the gripper retain position and orientation of the job same as during and after the parting-off operation, while the job is caught away by the job catcher and the gripper, thereby avoiding altering the position and orientation of the job.

20. The smart system of claim 19 is further configured to take the job, from the gripper to a desired location including at least one of a next machine, a next work station, a next CNC spindle, a robot pick-up zone to be picked up by a robot, or an exit chute where the job slides and reaches a robot pick-up zone.

21. The smart system of claim 19, wherein the gantry arm moves towards the job and the CNC machine just before the parting-off operation starts.

22. The smart system of claim 19, wherein the gantry arm is movable around multiple axes of direction, including and not limited to a Y-axis and a Z-axis.

23. The smart system of claim 19, wherein the job catcher has a shape of, including and not limited to, a catch pin for grasping a job with a hole where the catch pin inserts into the hole to grasp the job, or a catch bush for grasping a job without a hole, and the other shapes depending on shapes and sizes of the jobs.

Description:
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[001] The present invention is generally related to a job catching device that catches jobs which are parted off from a CNC machine. More particularly, the present invention relates to a smart job catching device to grab a parted off job from a CNC machine with a correct orientation.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[002] In working of CNC machines, parting off is a process of cutting of a job after it has been machined to a desired size and shape. Though parting off makes a small portion of the whole machining time, but it has been definitely a challenging operation. Since, it is the last process to be completed when machining a work piece (or a job) and before the work piece may be transferred to another machine or spindle, the process and the work piece security must be properly considered.

[003] Often parting-off operations are considered simpler than the whole machining process, and hence they are overlooked for any corrections or improvements. Conventional methods involve using a simple part catcher that catches jobs after they are being machined by a tool on a spindle. Existing part catchers are usually a cup or a container that are automatically placed underneath the job which is being parted, immediately before the parting off operation. The job, after being parted off, falls into these part catchers by gravity. Techniques including allowing the parted off jobs to fall into such containers due to gravity, or being manually collected after the parted-off jobs have fallen down due to gravity contain many problems.

[004] The parting-off jobs are rotating at higher speeds and at times when the jobs hit the cup/container, they roll out and fall outside or may fall into a coolant tank of the machine. Secondly, the job, being parted off at such high speed, loses its orientation in the cup/container when it falls automatically due to gravity. When this container brings the job out of a machine enclosure, the job may be in any orientation or position due to a random free fall into the container. Therefore, it becomes difficult for a robotic arm to transfer the parted-off job, after it falls into the container, to another machine or a spindle where a particular orientation or position is needed. Therefore, it may require a constant human supervision to correct the orientation or position of the job every time it falls into the container and manually transfers it to another machine. Hence, this may increase the overall time and involve more energy and skills of human operators.

[005] Further, falling of the jobs into these part catchers may give dents or marks on the job due to the fall impact, and rupture the shape and size of the job. Furthermore, while exiting the parted-off jobs from the machine, the jobs are tipped into a chute for exit. This may also lead to incorrect orientation and position of the jobs.

[006] Therefore, there is a need of a smart apparatus and a method for catching parted-off jobs accurately and in a way that the jobs are caught in desired orientation and position so that it can be transferred to next machine or spindle in desired orientation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[007] It is an objective of the present invention to provide a smart apparatus and a method for catching parting-off jobs in a CNC machine so that they do not fall outside the machine or into a coolant tank.

[008] An objective of the present invention is to provide the smart apparatus for catching parting-off jobs in desired orientation and position, which may be the same orientation in which they are parted-off from a spindle, in order to have the parted-off jobs in correct orientation for transfer to next machine, or spindle, which is required for the next machine or spindle.

[009] Another objective of the present invention is to prevent damage to the parted-off jobs and allow them to be parted off at higher speeds for improving machining efficiency.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0010] For a better understanding of the embodiments of the systems and methods described herein, and to show more clearly how they may be carried into effect, references will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals represent like elements/components throughout and wherein:

[0011] FIG. 1 illustrates a block diagram showing a smart apparatus for catching jobs accurately while parting off from a CNC machine, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0012] FIGs. 2-8 illustrate a sequence of operation for catching a parted-off job, by the smart apparatus, from the CNC machine, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0013] FIG. 9 illustrates a flowchart showing a method for smartly catching parting-off jobs by the smart apparatus in the CNC machine, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. DETAIFED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

[0014] This patent describes the subject matter for patenting with specificity to meet statutory requirements. However, the description itself is not intended to limit the scope of this patent. The principles described herein may be embodied in many different forms. [0015] Illustrative embodiments of the invention now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which some, but not all embodiments of the invention are shown. Indeed, the invention may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will satisfy applicable legal requirements. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.

[0016] The present invention provides a smart apparatus and a method for catching jobs accurately that are being parted-off from a bar stock in a CNC machine. Preferably, the CNC machine is a lathe machine. The apparatus grabs the job as it is being parted off, and maintains the same orientation and position of the job in which it is parted off from the bar stock. Therefore, the apparatus allows an automatic transfer of the parted-off job to a next machine, spindle or station in correct orientation and position.

[0017] The smart job catching apparatus comprises a 2-axis gantry system that includes a gantry arm movable around 2-Axes and a customized job catcher attached to the gantry arm. The parted-off job is caught by the customized job catcher instead of falling by gravity into a container or a cup. In an embodiment, the customized job catcher is in the shape of a catch pin in cases when the jobs have holes into them. Therefore, the gantry arm moves towards the job with hole when they are parting off, and inserts the catch pin, attached to the arm, into the hole to grab the job while parting. In another embodiment, the customized job catcher is in the shape of a catch bush when the jobs are without holes. In this case, the catch bush grabs the whole job when it is parting off from the bar stock. It may be apparent to a person skilled in the art that the customized job catcher attached to the gantry arm may have a variety of shapes suitable to grab jobs of different sizes and shapes, without deviating from the meaning and scope of the present invention.

[0018] Further, the smart apparatus includes a gripper for holding the parted-off jobs from the job catcher and the gantry arm, where the gripper is able to turn or rotate. When the gantry arm with the customized job catcher catches the parting-off job; the gantry arm moves towards the gripper and passes the job to the gripper, while maintaining the desired orientation and position of the parted-off job. Thereafter, the rotatable gripper clamps the job in the same orientation; and rotates around an axis for dropping the job in an exit chute, where the job slides on the chute under the effect of gravity. It may be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that the gripper may be able to rotate in one axis or in multiple axes in different angles either perpendicularly or in any other angle, depending on the desired orientation and position of the parted-off job, without deviating from the meaning and scope of the present invention.

[0019] Further, the job reaches a robot pick-up zone while sliding through the exit chute and is collected by a robotic arm. The robotic arm transfers the job to a desired location, which may be a next machine, a spindle or a station.

[0020] FIG. 1 illustrates a block diagram showing the smart apparatus for catching jobs accurately while parting off from a CNC machine, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The block diagram 100 includes the smart apparatus 102 working in coordination with the CNC machine 104. The CNC machine 104 has a chuck 106 on which a job 108 is being machined by a tool. As the machining process progresses towards the end, the job

108 needs to be parted off from a bar stock. Here, the smart apparatus 102 helps in catching the parting off jobs from the machine 104 without disturbing the orientation and position of the job 108 while parting off. Therefore, the smart apparatus 102 accurately catches the job 108 while maintaining the same orientation and position of the job 108 in which it is parted off.

[0021] The smart apparatus 102 comprises a 2- Axis gantry system which includes a gantry arm 110 with a customized job catcher 112 attached to it. The gantry arm 110 is movable around 2- Axes so that the arm 110 is able to move close and away from the job 108 while parting off. In a preferred embodiment, the gantry arm 110 is movable around a y-axis and a z-axis. It may be apparent to a person skilled in the art that the gantry arm 110 may be movable along multiple axes of direction, including and not limited to a Y-axis, a Z-axis, or an X-axis, without deviating from the meaning and scope of the present invention. The smart apparatus 102 also includes a rotatable gripper 114 that holds the parted-off job from the gantry arm 110. The mechanism of gantry arm 110 lies outside the CNC machine 104 during machining and enters through a roof hatch only just before parting, so the gantry arm 110 is safe from chips.

[0022] Just before the operation of parting off, the gantry arm 110 enters the machine 104 and moves towards the job 108 which is being parted off from the bar stock. The customized job catcher 112 grabs the parted off job 108. As mentioned earlier, the job catcher 112 may be a catch pin or a catch bush or any other suitable job catcher 112. Thereafter, the gantry arm 110 moves away from the chuck 108, with the parted-off job 108 caught in the job catcher 112. In an embodiment, the gantry arm 110 follows an approaching path along the 2-axes of direction for entering the CNC machine 104 and moving towards the job 108. Further, the gantry arm 110 passes the parted-off job 108 to the gripper 114, which is rotatable around an axis. In an embodiment, the gantry arm 110 follows a return path along the 2-axes of direction for coming out of the CNC machine 104 and moving away the job 108, and move towards the gripper 114. [0023] While the gantry arm 110 catches the parted-off job 108 and moves towards the gripper 114, the gantry arm 110 maintains the same orientation and position of the job 108 in which the job 108 is parted off. Furthermore, the gripper 114 clamps the parted-off job 108 and rotates with the clamped job 108, in order to bring the job in a desired orientation and position. The gripper 114, then, puts the job 108 in an exit chute 116 from which the job 108 slides through and reaches a robot pick-up zone. It may be apparent to a person skilled in the art that gripper 114 may rotate around single or multiple axes in different angles to bring the job in a desired orientation and position, for the job to be automatically transferred to a next machine, spindle or a station, without deviating from the meaning and scope of the present invention. From the exit chute 116, a robot picks up the job 108 and transfers it to a desired location.

[0024] FIGs. 2-8 illustrate a sequence of operation for catching a parted-off job, by the smart apparatus, from the CNC machine, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 shows mechanism of the gantry arm 110 provided outside the CNC machine 104, and the gantry arm 110 being at its home position 200. FIG. 2 also shows a bar feeder 202 that pushes the job 108 against a turret stopper. The gantry arm 110 moves down the‘-y axis’ just before the parting off operation starts, as shown by position 300 of the gantry arm 110 in FIG. 3. Further, the gantry arm 110 moves forward the‘+z-axis’, bringing the job catcher 112 towards the job 108 during the parting off operation, as shown by position 400 of the gantry arm 110 in FIG. 4. During the parting off of the job 108 from the bar feeder 202, the job catcher 112 grabs the job 108 and collects the job 108 after being parted off. The gantry arm 110, as shown by position

500 in FIG. 5, moves back the‘-z axis’ and away from the chuck 106.

[0025] Thereafter, the gantry arm 110 moves up the‘+y-axis’, with the job 108 caught in the job catcher 112, as shown by position 600 in FIG. 6. After moving up, the gantry arm 110 moves forward the‘+z-axis’, towards the gripper 112, as shown by the position 700 in the FIG. 7. While the gantry arm 110 grabs the parted-off job 108 and moves up and towards the gripper 114, the gantry arm 110 retains the same orientation and position of the job 108 in which it is parted off from the bar feeder 202. Further, the gripper 114 clamps the job 108, while the job 108 is still caught by the job catcher 112, as shown in FIG. 7.

[0026] Further, since the gripper 114 is rotatable, the gripper 114 rotates the clamped job 108 at 90 degrees to bring the job 108 in a desired orientation and position, for the job 108 to be suitably transferred to a desired location, such as a next machine, a next spindle or a station, as shown in FIG. 8. It may be apparent to a person skilled in the art, that the gripper 114 may not even rotate the job 108, as desired, to retain the same orientation and position of the job 108 in which it is parted off, or the gripper may also rotate the job 108 at any desired angle other than 90 degrees to bring the job 108 in a desired orientation and position, without deviating from the meaning and scope of the present invention. Thereafter, the gripper 114 drops the job 108 on the exit chute 116. Consequently, the job 108 slides through the exit chute 116 due to gravity to reach a robot pick-up zone 800, from where a robot picks up the job 108 to transfer the job to a desired location.

[0027] FIG. 9 illustrates a flowchart showing a method for smartly catching parting-off jobs by the smart apparatus in the CNC machine, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. As shown in flowchart 900, at step 902, the gantry arm 110 moves around the y-axis and z-axis to get closer to a parting off job during the parting operation. The gantry arm 110 moves down the y-axis just before the parting off operation, and moves forward the z-axis during the parting off operation. This brings the customized job catcher 112 closer to the job 108 while it is parting off of the bar stock. The job catcher 112 holds job 108 while the operation is going on, at step 904. After the job is parted off, the gantry arm 110 moves back the z-axis away from the chuck 106, at step 906, which takes the parted-off job 108 away from the chuck 106.

[0028] Thereafter, the gantry arm 110 moves around the y-axis and the z-axis to bring the job catcher 112 with the caught parted-off job close to the gripper 114, at step 908. The gantry arm 110 moves up the y-axis, and then forward the z-axis towards the gripper 114. At step 910, the gripper 114 clamps the job 108, while it is still caught by the job catcher 112. Thereafter at step 912, the gripper 114 rotates the job 108 to retain the job’s correct orientation and position. Consequently, the gripper 114 drops the job 108 in the exit chute 116 in the same correct orientation and position of the job 108. The job 108 slides through the exit chute 116 and reaches the robot pick-up zone, from where the robot picks up the job in the correct orientation and position and transfers the job 108 to a desired location retaining the same orientation and position of the parted-off job.

[0029] Advantageously, the present invention provides a smart apparatus and method for catching parted-off jobs in a CNC machines accurately without damaging them, and while also retaining a desired orientation and position of the parted-off job, so that the job can be automatically transferred to a desired location in the correct orientation and position. The smart apparatus makes use of a 2-Axis gantry arm with a customized job catcher that catches the job without disturbing its original orientation and position in which the job is parted off. Further, a gripper retains the correct orientation and position of the job and transfers the job out of the CNC machine in the same orientation and position. Hence, the present invention avoids using existing containers or cups to catch jobs, and so avoids any damage or dents caused to the jobs due to an impact of falling into the containers. Additionally, the present invention also avoids falling of the parted-off jobs into a coolant tank of the machine, since the customized job catcher catches the job during the parting off operation.

[0030] Further, the present invention allows parting-off of job at higher cutting speeds thereby improving machining efficiency. Also, since the smart apparatus takes the job out of roof, the apparatus allows use of gravity based chutes to transfer the parted-off job to a next machine, station or spindle without using human effort or power.

[0031] While certain embodiments have been described, these embodiments have been presented by way of example only, and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure. Indeed, the novel methods, devices, and systems described herein may be embodied in a variety of other forms. Furthermore, various omissions, substitutions, and changes in the form of the methods, devices, and systems described herein may be made without departing from the spirit of the present disclosure.