Xcelerate robot
Customer, market and process

Fixture Exchange and Collet Exchange

The Collet Exchange and Fixture Exchange increase the flexibility of a production cell. These systems allow you to work on different dimensions in succession. You are not bound by having to work on a single size. Quite often, the machine clamp and collet chuck determine which piece can be machined. The Collet and Fixture Exchange allow you to make changes without being bound to a specific diameter for your piece.

The Collet Exchange is used for round products and diameters. The Fixture Exchange is used for rectangular products. Collets are for lathes. Fixtures (or machine clamps) are for milling machines.

Previously, Xcelerate enabled a user to load one series of similar pieces. With the Collet Exchange and Fixture Exchange, you can change the collet or fixture, so that you are no longer dependent on the size of the machine clamp or collet chuck. This can be done without any intervention required from an operator.

If your organisation supplies many different companies, flexibility and speed are key competitive values. In that case, you often do not have the luxury to run machines automatically at night. The series you run are smaller and often diverse. Xcelerate – without a Fixture Exchange or Collet Exchange – allows you to machine a series of pieces with a certain diameter. Fixture Exchange and Collet Exchange add value, because if you can change the fixture or collet, you are no longer dependent on certain diameters for your pieces. This enables you to run longer unmanned cycles. This also means that during the manned hours in the daytime, two machines can be operated at the same time.

“We often see companies with operators at two machines. One machine is loaded with Xcelerate and the other is loaded manually. The operator will then keep an eye on the more complex series.”

Is the Collet Exchange or Fixture Exchange suitable for my organisation?

Companies that purchase this Xcelerate application tend to have a few questions about this investment. Is the investment worth it?

In other words, what is my return on investment? It certainly is an investment, but it will pay for itself. Companies interested in a Collet Exchange or Fixture Exchange often already have all the necessary hardware. Different collets and fixtures are already present, meaning that the main investment lies in modifying the Xcelerate.

Another question that is frequently asked is: will I be able to modify my production process? Company employees will be expected to have more cognitive skills. The production process must be further optimised and more thought needs to go into which collets are required for the various series and how this should all be planned in succession. This process requires much more mental input and may result in errors. Preparation of the work is more complex, as an extra step is added. It requires a little more experience from the operator.

Any errors are mostly caused by the incorrect planning of series and collets/fixtures. This will make loading the series impossible and the machine will stop unattended.

In this case, our advice is to machine similar series in succession and to continue to machine exotic series or series that require more attention manually.

They can be raw products or products ready for finishing. It does not make any difference to Xcelerate with Collet/Fixture Exchange. Following the personal recommendations of one of Cellro’s experts, you can load the most complex pieces.

Is the Collet or Fixture Exchange suitable for my machine?

The machine must be able to receive NC numbers. NC numbers let the machine know which tools should be used for which load. They require more of your machine communication and can often only be used with newer machines.  They are based on Profibus, Profinet or Ethernet IP, all of which are primarily used in conjunction with newer machines. In an older machine, this is not an option.

Fixture Exchange is based on a zero-point tensioning system. This is the most common way to tension pieces in the machine industry. Cellro also uses this system to tension the fixture on the pallet.

Can I add Collet or Fixture Exchange to the existing system?

You can, but this will have multiple consequences. Different modules can be added to Xcelerate. If you want to further expand your automation, the main challenge is often related to the machine. The machine must be suitable for the module. If this was not taken into account when the machine was purchased, Cellro will work with you to find out whether a connection with the existing system is possible.

If you would like to find out more about this automation solution, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts.