Automatic Parts Loader

September 18, 2018
Automatic Parts Loader

Many shops today are looking to automation and automatic part loading as a means to reduce costs, increase throughput, and cope with the ongoing shortage of skilled labor. The Automatic Parts Loader (APL) from Haas Automation Inc. is a fully integrated solution for automating turning operations on Haas ST-10 through ST-35 turning centers, including Y-axis models.

The Haas APL automatically picks up parts from an external tray and loads them into the lathe for unattended turning. The dual grippers handle parts up to 5.8" (147 mm) diameter by 5" (127 mm) long, and weighing up to 10 lbs. (4.5 kg). The APL can load raw pieces into the machine, remove completed parts, and then return them to the table.

The APL is programmed directly through the Haas Next Generation Control, and set up using the Haas Visual Programming System, which guides the operator through the steps necessary to quickly and easily program the APL. An integrated light curtain keeps operators safe during automatic operation.

The APL operates in the background during normal lathe operations, returning parts to the storage table and retrieving new raw pieces while parts are being machined. The double-sided rotating gripper saves time by taking a part from the spindle and replacing it with a new piece without having to return to the storage table. The result is near-continuous, unattended machining.

To provide peace of mind during unattended operations, all new Haas machines come standard with HaasConnect mobile machine monitoring, which provides instant alerts about machine status via email or SMS text message – so you’ll always know the operating status of your machine, even when running unattended. The Haas Next Generation Control is Industry 4.0-ready, with built-in Ethernet, available WiFi connectivity.

Related Glossary Terms

  • centers


    Cone-shaped pins that support a workpiece by one or two ends during machining. The centers fit into holes drilled in the workpiece ends. Centers that turn with the workpiece are called “live” centers; those that do not are called “dead” centers.

  • lathe


    Turning machine capable of sawing, milling, grinding, gear-cutting, drilling, reaming, boring, threading, facing, chamfering, grooving, knurling, spinning, parting, necking, taper-cutting, and cam- and eccentric-cutting, as well as step- and straight-turning. Comes in a variety of forms, ranging from manual to semiautomatic to fully automatic, with major types being engine lathes, turning and contouring lathes, turret lathes and numerical-control lathes. The engine lathe consists of a headstock and spindle, tailstock, bed, carriage (complete with apron) and cross slides. Features include gear- (speed) and feed-selector levers, toolpost, compound rest, lead screw and reversing lead screw, threading dial and rapid-traverse lever. Special lathe types include through-the-spindle, camshaft and crankshaft, brake drum and rotor, spinning and gun-barrel machines. Toolroom and bench lathes are used for precision work; the former for tool-and-die work and similar tasks, the latter for small workpieces (instruments, watches), normally without a power feed. Models are typically designated according to their “swing,” or the largest-diameter workpiece that can be rotated; bed length, or the distance between centers; and horsepower generated. See turning machine.

  • turning


    Workpiece is held in a chuck, mounted on a face plate or secured between centers and rotated while a cutting tool, normally a single-point tool, is fed into it along its periphery or across its end or face. Takes the form of straight turning (cutting along the periphery of the workpiece); taper turning (creating a taper); step turning (turning different-size diameters on the same work); chamfering (beveling an edge or shoulder); facing (cutting on an end); turning threads (usually external but can be internal); roughing (high-volume metal removal); and finishing (final light cuts). Performed on lathes, turning centers, chucking machines, automatic screw machines and similar machines.