Automating a CNC machine

CNC automation is the number one way to get the most out of your CNC machine. It is easy to connect Xcelerate and Elevate, Cellro’s loading robots, to both existing and new CNC machinery. Universal automation solutions from Cellro make CNC automation possible for the entire machining industry. Whether the job at hand involves turning, milling, grinding, wire or zinc sparking, CNC automation has never been as accessible as it is now.


Table of Contents

  1. What is automation?
  2. Which CNC machines can Cellro automate?
  3. Is CNC automation a profitable solution for you?
  4. CNC automation: also suitable for small series and various products
  5. The importance of safety in CNC automation
  6. User-friendly software
  7. Easy machine coupling
  8. Automating milling benches and lathes


1.    What is automation?

Automation is the process where (part of) the manual labour involved in a production process is taken over by robotized labour. Connecting a robot cell to a CNC machine is a good example of this. Since the robot is capable of loading and unloading the machine, the production process can continue to run without being manned.


2.    Which CNC machines can Cellro automate?

In principle, Cellro can automate any CNC machine, regardless of the brand. We have experience with a wide range of CNC brands. In particular, Cellro has a wealth of experience with 3-axis machines (possibly including a 4th axis) 4-axis and 5-axis turning and multitasking machines. There is a certain range when it comes to CNC machinery. This applies to the X axis, the Y axis and the Z axis. It determines the size of the workpieces that can be loaded onto the CNC machine. Both CNC machinery with a horizontal spindle and machinery with a vertical spindle can be automated.


3.    Is CNC automation a profitable solution for you?

CNC machines come in various sizes and dimensions. Some CNC machines are suitable for heavy machining, while others can handle the frequent processing of for example plastic products. Regardless of the CNC machine you own, automation is often worth the effort involved. Your CNC machine will more than pay for itself. Automation can ensure longer-lasting production, which means less work for your specialist staff. Many of Cellro’s customers have first-hand experience of this.

Cellro’s golden rule is: if the batch size is large enough to run unmanned for one hour, this in itself justifies the use of a loading robot. For small batches, too, your investment is absolutely worth it. Xcelerate will enable you to significantly increase your daily production output. What is Xcelerate’s secret? Not just the speed, but especially the continuity. Xcelerate is capable of doing the same work at the same pace for hours on end, does not become distracted and requires no breaks, phone calls or coordination halfway through the process. It delivers consistent quality. In addition, all those hours of unmanned operation are a real bonus.


4.    CNC automation: also suitable for small series and various products

Products with complex or different shapes can also be handled using Xcelerate or Elevate. Thanks to the technology that powers the robot grippers in our automation solutions, the loading robots can pick up products of all shapes and sizes and place them in the CNC machine with an excellent level of accuracy. The key to this is the robot and the freedom of configuration of both the gripper fingers and the inlays.

Robotisation of CNC machines is not only for mass producers. Suppliers with an unpredictable production process, which may consist of small series and a variety of products, can also benefit from Cellro’s automation solutions. Need a greater handling weight and a high storage capacity over a small surface area? If so, Elevate is the ideal automation solution for you.


5.    The importance of safety in CNC automation

Working safely with automated systems is the number one priority. This is why Cellro pays close attention to safety. We comply with CE safety standards at all times. For example, Xcelerate is usually equipped with a floor scanner so that the machine remains accessible, thereby guaranteeing the safety of your employees. The system can easily be incorporated into your existing production environment. As for Elevate, there are multiple formats to help you tailor your preferred automation solution to your exact wishes and working environment. This allows your employees to perform their work undisturbed and safely while Cellro’s loading robots load and unload your CNC machine.


6.    User-friendly software

Thanks to their user-friendly software, Xcelerate and Elevate are easy to use for any operator. The smart software allows you to add new modules or update existing ones. For example, do you need a specific inlay or specific gripper fingers for a specific product? No problem: this type of change is easy to implement with our software. This also makes CNC automation at Cellro highly flexible, giving you full control over how to adjust automation to suit your production process.

Xcelerate bij een CNC-machine
Xcelerate with a CNC machine


7.    Easy machine coupling

What do you need in order to couple an automation solution to your machine? An automatic door, a robot interface and automatic clamping are three key elements for stable and reliable CNC automation. Cellro has many years of experience in coupling automation solutions to various machine brands, taking full control of the process to largely spare its customers the effort.

7.1  Addition of multiple features

The machine interface plays an important role in machine coupling. A simple I/O link ensures that a single task is started at a time. In that case, the CNC machine contains the correct clamp and Xcelerate knows that the products from a certain drawer must be placed there for processing until such time as the products from the drawer are ready. If you subsequently wish to process another product in your CNC machine, you first have to change the clamp and the program.

With the Profibus, Ethernet, and Ethernet/IP interfaces, the entire process can be automated, even for small series of products of different shapes and sizes. These are protocols that are easy to couple and where a wide range of features can be added to the automation solution. Take Fixture Exchange, for instance, which allows you to change clamps automatically. This means that Xcelerate stores the required clamps and changes them at the appropriate time. In addition, these protocols allow you to activate different CNC programs. The CNC machine and the loading robot communicate with each other continuously.


8.    Automating milling benches and lathes

Cellro automates 3-axis milling benches, 4-axis (horizontal) milling benches and 5-axis milling benches. But also wire and zinc sparking machines. Find out more about what you need to pay attention to when automating a milling bench. Do you wish to automate a lathe? If so, read on to find out more about the operation of CNC automation for various types of lathes, also known as turning machines.


Interested in CNC automation? We are happy to advise you.