1st Machine Tool Accessories Ltd

Machine Tool
Workholding Specialists

7th January 2019

1st MTA introduces Industry 4.0-enabled barfeeds

Iemca Barfeeders

On the MACH 2018 stand of 1st Machine Tool Accessories (H20-560), the UK sales and service agent for IEMCA, visitors learnt that bar feeders from this Italian manufacturer can now be supplied with Industry 4.0 connectivity. There was a suitably equipped Boss magazine with bundle loader on show to prove the point. Other IEMCA barfeed models currently capable of sharing Industry 4.0 data are the Elite, KID and Master UP.

IEMCA has been designing and manufacturing automatic magazine barfeed systems since 1961 and today is regarded as the world leader in the technology. It has the widest product range available on the market able to feed materials of all shapes from 0.3 mm to 100 mm in diameter / width and up to six metres long. Most of the barfeeds are available with the option of additional material storage capacity, the maximum being 2.5 tonnes. Applications span fixed and sliding-head single-spindle lathes, multi-spindle autos, machining centres, grinders, gear cutters, presses and other types of special machine tool.

Industry 4.0 compliance

In 2009, IEMCA started a process of upgrading the technical standards of its products and enhancing their integration into the manufacturing environment. The idea was to increase the performance, reliability and capacity of the systems and to enable them to work autonomously, improving unmanned operation and control. January 2017 was yet another milestone, when the company launched another first in the world of barfeeds to reveal a range of systems that are Industry 4.0 compliant.

The new generation of magazines is 40 per cent faster than previous models, reliable, flexible and able to offer Industry 4.0 plug-and-play capabilities. The machine tool does not need a special network connection to work with the Industry 4.0 functions in the barfeed, which utilises a standard power supply.

The IEMCA Industry 4.0 solution allows emails and text messages to be sent when an alarm occurs, remote supervision and analysis which can include use of a video camera, barfeed control from a PC, smart phone or tablet, and global remote assistance on all software components.

IEMCA products are able to receive data from and share it with other manufacturing equipment, in particular CNC turning centres, to allow flow of information that until a few years ago seemed unachievable and unbelievable. For these reasons, IEMCA equipment does not only contribute to the creation of digital factories but continuously helps to improve the manufacturing processes of the customer. All the information collected is analysed for product data management purposes and for geographical location of machinery to optimise production and logistics planning.

Boss HD

Among the hundreds of thousands of barfeeds in use globally, the Boss is IEMCA’s flagship product with more than 30,000 installed in factories around the world. It is available in two versions, the 338 HD Superfast and the 552 HD.

This barfeed was designed in 1991 and since then has been constantly improved, with each new model upgrade improving its performance. In the latest version, the fastest and most reliable yet, a new control system has been fitted together with the latest electronic components.

In addition to being optionally equipped for exchanging Industry 4.0 data, the barfeed has the capability to accept a further option, namely additional storage capacity to further extend unmanned production. Extra magazine capacity can be supplied in two versions: the Caddy-F bundle magazine that can store up to 2.5 tonnes of material (as was displayed by 1st MTA at MACH 2018) and the Caddy-P multi-rack magazine for storing up to 1,800 mm of material.


With more than 50 years of experience in barfeed design, innovation and manufacturing, and the most extensive range of barfeeding solutions on the market, along with a global presence and experience of connecting its barfeeds to more than 3,500 different types of manufacturing equipment, IEMCA is still introducing innovative solutions to improve customers’ productivity and profitability.

Occupying 20,000 square metres, the main IEMCA factory is the largest barfeeder manufacturing plant in the world, where around 200 of the company’s more than 550 staff work. Over the years, the firm has delivered in excess of 100,000 IEMCA barfeed systems worldwide, some 2,500 of which are in the UK.

In addition to the headquarters and principal factory in Faenza, Italy, IEMCA has production sites in the USA, China and Taiwan along with subsidiaries in France, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil and Japan and agents in 30 countries across Europe, South Africa, Asia and Australia.



Top photograph caption: The barfeed can be controlled and monitored from a PC, smart phone or tablet.



The IEMCA Boss 338-HD Superfast fitted with bundle magazine and Industry 4.0 connectivity made its UK debut on the 1st MTA stand at MACH 2018.


The IEMCA Boss 338-HD Superfast.