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25 October, 2021

Automated CNC door-opener solves ‘unsolvable’ challenge

24 August, 2021

A Danish start-up claims to have solved a “previously unsolvable” challenge by developing the world’s first completely automated door-opening system for CNC machine tools, thus removing the last barrier to the automated feeding of components into machines. The company, Made4CNC, says that its system can be fitted to any CNC machine tool in less than an hour.

Currently only a small percentage of CNC machines are fed components automatically. Most rely on either an operator or a robot to open and close the heavy doors every few minutes. When CNC machines need to be automated, integrators often build bespoke door-opening systems that risks errors, stoppages, and hazardous situations because they typically use compressed air, and are neither standardised nor tested. Investing in a fully automated CNC machine or upgrading an older model can be costly and difficult.

Odense-based Made4CNC says its electrically operated Safedoor SD100 overcomes these challenges. It can open CNC doors that are up to 1m wide and weigh up to 400kg, at speeds of up to 500mm/s. The door opener can connect to any robot and CNC machine via galvanic insulated digital inputs and outputs. Built-in safety functions allow integrators to adjust the speed of the CNC door, making risk assessments easier to conduct.

“Around the world the need for faster and greater automation is a major trend, and for it to succeed, less time must be spent on each installation,” explains Made4CNC CEO, Peter Nadolny Madsen. “With the SD100, we have integrated safety and robustness in a user-friendly solution, which we believe is the key to optimal productivity. Integration of cobots together with existing CNC machines makes a lot of sense, since the automation of existing machines generate low risk and a short payback period for the customer.”

Madsen established Made4CNC in January 2021, together with investors Thomas Visti and Lasse Kieffer. They have worked for other Danish robot companies including Universal Robots, OnRobot, Purple Robotics and Mobile Industrial Robots.

Several end-users have already started to use the technology. For example, the Danish integrator Nordelektro has installed two of the door-opening systems at the gear manufacturer, Randers Tandhjulsfabrik. “It took less than an hour for each CNC machine and they are good and stable door-openers,” reports Randers’ factory manager, Lars Bo Nielsen.

Made4CNC’s Safedoor SD100 system can automate the opening and closing of any CNC machine door

The door-opener makes life easier for integrators by allowing them to offer customers a standardised out-of-the-box system. “It is a huge advantage for us as an integrator,” says Nordelektro’s sales manager, Jesper Storm Simonsen. “We don’t need to invent something complicated and expensive, we have minimum project risk.”

The SD100 has been certified by Universal Robots. Its UR+ certification ensures that the door-opening system will integrate seamlessly with UR robots, with all operations performed via the robot’s teach pendant.

Made4CNC has signed up its first US dealer, Thinkbot Solutions. “Safedoor SD100 makes having a job as a machine feeder much more pleasant and easy-going, and the same time the employer will be able to optimise and get a better flow,” says Thinkbot’s president, Philip Courtois. “Other people have tried unsuccessfully to develop a user-friendly door-opener. Made4CNC has completely succeeded.”

Made4CNC co-founder Thomas Visti predicts that the company will establish itself via robot dealers and integrators around most of the world in the coming 12 months.

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