Haas unveils automatic parts loader for small VMCs

The newly developed Haas Mill APL (Automatic Parts Loader) is a simple way to automate part production on small VF-series vertical machining centres. The unit integrates seamlessly with the Haas control, and features a simple set-up interface that will have users fully automated in minutes, loading and unloading parts for unattended machining. According to Haas, running the APL for just four extra hours per day could generate enough output to pay for the investment in as few as six months.

Available for use on Haas VF-1, VF-2, VF-2SS, VF-2YT, VF-2SSYT and VM-2 vertical machining centres, an easy-to-use interface in the Haas control guides users through a simple, step-by-step set-up process that ‘teaches’ the APL arm its positions. Parts measuring up to 152 by 152 mm in length and width can be handled by the APL grippers, while table load capacity is 454 kg. A light curtain is included for safe operation.

Component management on the APL table is achieved by creating a grid pattern template of equally spaced rows and columns. Various part shapes, such as round, hexagonal and square, can be loaded, and grippers can be adjusted or modified to best-fit specific customer components.

The APL is programmed directly through the Haas control, and set up using the Haas APL interface, which guides the operator through the steps necessary for quick programming. Answering simple questions, the operator enters basic information by positioning the grippers and pushing a single button to record position, or by entering basic numeric values. All values are calculated automatically by the control, and the APL is ready to go. The APL operates in the background during normal machining operations, returning parts to the storage table and retrieving new raw workpieces, while parts are being machined. Near-continuous, unattended machining is the result. The double grippers save time by taking a part from the electronic vice inside the machine and replacing it with a new piece of raw material, without having to return to the storage table.