ROSEMONT, ILL. — CNC machining centers for rotational molding are evolving to fully enclosed milling machines with shuttle tables, said Adam Covington, sales engineer of Ferry Industries Inc.
Rotomolders still use people running hand tools to drill and trim parts, but there are safety concerns from repetitive motion, he said.
Using a CNC router to trim a part, held in a fixture, lets operators tackle other tasks besides trimming, such as preparing the next part, do finishing and assembly, then package the finished part, getting items ready for shipment, Covington said.
Automated routing also improves accuracy “as we look to do more complex components,” he said.
Ferry, of Stow, Ohio, makes rotomolding machines and Quintax machining centers.
For routing, CAD-CAM can be used to design custom fixtures to hold parts during routing, and generate tool paths, Covington said.
The Quintax E5510 five-axis machining center has a full enclosure, with front doors that open and close, as the router accepts two shuttle tables. When a part on one table is being machined, the operator can unload a finished part on the second table. The enclosed design contains trimmed chips of plastic and generates less noise. It's safer too, by keeping the milling away from the operator, and allowing the use of light curtains.
Covington said the CNC machines can handle one-off parts or keep running high-volume parts.