Mechanical Engineering Department
BS in Mechanical Engineering
The use of CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) machines automate production in factories through programs controlling manual operations such as milling or lathing. The manufacturing process can be automated beyond the use of CNC machines through the addition of a robotic tender capable of carrying out the same tasks as a human operator. A tender can be integrated into the CNC machine itself, or purchased separately and configured to autonomously operate a particular machine. Smaller companies making limited production runs may not find it economically feasible to purchase large scale integrated machine tenders, but would benefit from a versatile autonomous machine tender that can be utilized for their specific application. The objective of this project is to design and build a relatively low-cost robotic operator capable of loading and unloading a CNC mill. Our machine tender will come with its own code ready to program instead of requiring connection to another machine to program its function. The tender will be capable of accepting inputs and providing outputs to any Haas CNC VF-2, VF-3, ToolRoom, or minimill connected. The device will also be capable of being swapped out for a human operator for the CNC machine. Our sponsor is Haas Automation, Inc., and our point of contact at Haas is Mr. Bill Tandrow, Vice President of Mechanical Engineering. The engineering advisor for this project is Professor Eileen Rossman of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mechanical Engineering Department.