Maskinfabrikken Esko in Aalborg is doing well and has doubled its revenues since 2011. Moreover, the number of staff has increased to 21 employees working in two shifts. To allow for further growth, the company has recently considered solutions integrating robots into production.

The company selected a turnkey solution from Flextek in the form of an advanced robot cell which was finalised in May. It is based on an Okuma Multus U4000 Multitasking CNC center for 5-axis simultaneous processing and with a 6-axis Motoman robot arm. The teamwork between machine and robot is coordinated by the Okuma control CNC OSP 300 with Danish dialogue.

”Our machines are highly automated. But we have never had robots running in production. We have therefore chosen a safe solution where we obtain greater capacity from 5-axis processing operations at the same time,” says co-owner Samuel Rønn, and adds:

”We have very high expectations to get robots into the production. This means a lot to our future competitiveness. Now the way is paved for robots and the next may soon become a reality in our company.”

Also a turning centre

The sub-supplier from the North of Jutland has also been supplied with an Okuma LB 3000 CNC lathe with Y axis and sub-spindle together with the 5-axis CNC center from Lextek. The two machines arrived in February and are both prepared for multitasking with robots. They have produced parts since March that have been handled manually.

”We have opted for a solution in two steps where only the machines were delivered in the first place. This was in order to become familiar with their functionality and corresponding training material. The robot was post installed in May at the CNC center. We have thus taken a stepwise approach and it works very well,” says Samuel Rønn.

According to the plan, the robot cell with the 5-axis CNC center will be kept running as much as possible during unmanned working hours. The robot cell is expected to be kept running for up to five hours out of 24 hours of unmanned working hours at the sub-supplier from the North of Jutland.

80 tool slots

In order to be able to handle the wide range of operations in connection with unmanned processing, the CNC center has two tool magazines that can accommodate up to 80 tools. At the same time, the construction of the machine is powerful and robust and together with the 5-axis processing it creates the best conditions for high precision parts processing.

”The greatest advantage of 5-axis processing is that the part can be processed in a single fixture. It saves time and at the same time errors that may arise when a part needs to be processed in several fixtures are prevented,” says Samuel Rønn.

The company is supplier to machine builders, the food industry, engine manufacturers, offshore industry and other industries. Exports to Norway account for approx. 20 percent of total revenues. Esko’s success is due in particular to the fact that the company has made progress with existing customers; but also because of new customers.