Updates to Gantry Tool Storage and Manufacturing Management Software

September 11, 2020
Gantry Tool Storage and Manufacturing Management Software Updates Improve Cutting Tool Sharing, Efficiency, Ergonomics, User Experience

New releases of the Gantry Tool Storage (GTS) system and Manufacturing Management Software (MMS) from Fastems are designed to significantly increase manufacturing efficiency, enhance ergonomics and improve overall user experience. When applied within a Fastems Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS), the GTS system and MMS can achieve  machine utilization levels above 95 percent. 

In the GTS system, pick-and-place and traveling gantry robots provide access to centralized storage of up to 4,000 cutting tools and perform just-in-time tool delivery to individual machines. MMS software commands automatic cutting tool changes based on specific NC program scheduling requirements and real-time cutting tool life status. 

The GTS system enables cutting tools to be shared among multiple machines, minimizing redundancy and eliminating the need to reserve a cutting tool for a single machine. This generates cutting tool cost savings and minimizes operator interaction with  cutting tool changes, reducing labor expense and eliminating tooling loading errors. Cutting tool sharing also permits reduction in the size of machine tool magazines. When implementing the GTS system, its new modular design results in shorter delivery, installation, and commissioning times, as well as hardware cost advantages.

Improvements to MMS software include a more ergonomic interface and improved user experience, faster cutting tool information search functions, improved view of NC programs, and upgraded response in the case of unexpected machine stoppages. 

Overall, Fastems’ cutting tool management products facilitate cutting tool setups in advance, eliminate scrap and machine crashes due to cutting tool loading errors, enable cutting tool sharing and lights-out machining, and consolidate cutting tool setup activities. Advantages are realized in both initial investment and in ongoing return on investment. Fastems cutting tool automation equipment and software can be installed in phases, with each stage growing in capability and functionality.

Trends toward low-volume, high-mix production scenarios, plus a growing use of difficult to machine materials, has increased the number and variety of cutting tools required to maximize productivity. Fastems LLC has been solving manufacturers’ cutting-tool-related productivity challenges since 1997 and has now made available optimal cutting tool management practices into its GTS.

To fully introduce GTS and MMS improvements, Fastems will present a virtual Open House and Conference entitled “Productivity Beyond Machine Tending” on November 4, 2020, providing comprehensive details of the systems’ features and capabilities, while giving useful insight on cutting tool management in general.  Revealing ways to reduce waiting time, eliminate loading errors, maximize cutting tool safety and manage ergonomic considerations. The program also includes useful presentations and Q&A sessions on how flexible automation and intelligent production planning software can increase efficiency and quality on a shop floor of any size.

Related Glossary Terms

  • flexible manufacturing system ( FMS)

    flexible manufacturing system ( FMS)

    Automated manufacturing system designed to machine a variety of similar parts. System is designed to minimize production changeover time. Computers link machine tools with the workhandling system and peripherals. Also associated with machine tools grouped in cells for efficient production. See cell manufacturing.

  • just-in-time ( JIT)

    just-in-time ( JIT)

    Philosophy based on identifying, then removing, impediments to productivity. Applies to machining processes, inventory control, rejects, changeover time and other elements affecting production.

  • modular design ( modular construction)

    modular design ( modular construction)

    Manufacturing of a product in subassemblies that permits fast and simple replacement of defective assemblies and tailoring of the product for different purposes. See interchangeable parts.

  • numerical control ( NC)

    numerical control ( NC)

    Any controlled equipment that allows an operator to program its movement by entering a series of coded numbers and symbols. See CNC, computer numerical control; DNC, direct numerical control.