The Iemca Master 80 Hyperflexible bar magazine manufactured by Iemca, Italy, proved popular when it was introduced in 2009 due to its ability to accept stock of any diameter from 15 to 80 mm using just one guide channel. Now the machine has been given a new loading system that allows bars to be presented ergonomically at knee level, so operators no longer need to handle bars at chest height or lean into the rack.
Available in the UK through 1st Machine Tool Accessories, the new version of the magazine is called Master 80 Up Hyperflexible. Stock can be transported to the loading position by fork lift truck, hand pallet truck, overhead crane, a hoist or a handling trolley. The bars then enter the magazine via an inclined chute and are raised one by one to rack level automatically by a fully guarded, integral, vertical lift system.
Three sizes of magazine are available for feeding stock of 3.3, 3.8 and 4.3 metres maximum length. The longest bar, if it is 80 mm diameter steel, would weigh over 170 kg, so avoiding manual handling is highly desirable. Even a two-metre long bar of half that diameter is close to the maximum weight a person can lift and still be within the UK health and safety limit.
The magazine’s 600 mm capacity (ie 10 bars of 60 mm diameter, for example) is generous and the loading height can be set at between 510 and 1,130 mm to suit the model of fixed-headstock lathe. Even the largest sliding-head lathes would not be paired with this magazine, as their sub-40 mm capacity is too low.
Iemca and its agent, 1st MTA, have researched the turning market in the UK and found that only about one-quarter of fixed-head lathes are fed by full-length magazines, the remainder being short bar feeders. However, there are clear signs that longer magazines are becoming more popular. The main reasons are less stock wastage, as remnants are a smaller proportion of bar length, and longer periods of unmanned running, which maximises productivity.
Historical fears of vibration occurring when rotating long bars, leading to lower precision machining, have been allayed by the increased rigidity of modern bar feeders. The Master 80 Up Hyperflexible, with its 1.7 tonne installed weight, is a good example of a robust, high precision, long bar magazine. Extreme torsional and longitudinal rigidity is complemented by a hydrodynamic pusher, which is supported by two pairs of self-adjusting rollers to further minimise vibration. Even hexagonal or square section stock can be turned without undue vibration.
Flexibility for users that set up jobs frequently across a wide range of bar diameters, without the inconvenience of spending half an hour changing the guide channel each time, is the principal advantage of the magazine’s core design. It means that changeover from one bar to the next can be accomplished in one minute, leading to minimal lathe idle time. Only the pusher collet and the two-part front bushing need to be exchanged. On other bar magazines, from three to six different sizes of channel would be needed to span a bar diameter range of 15 to 80 mm.
Automatic in operation, with all working parameters and magazine adjustments controlled by simply entering the bar diameter on the hand-held control panel, the versatile feeder incorporates remnant retrieval and management on all models. A further advantage of the Iemca magazine design is the axial shift mechanism, which allows rapid access to the machine tool for maintenance and adjustment.
A video of the Master 80 Up Hyperflexible in action can be seen by visiting the following URL:
The full range of Iemca Bar Feeders are available from 1st MTA.