Lights-Out Manufacturing With ActiveEdge

In modern day manufacturing, increasing pressure to meet productivity targets combined with the rapidly rising cost of materials, utilities and labour, places organisations under constant strain.

Developments in technology and continuous advancements in creating the most efficient and effective operations allows organisations to stay competitive and gain an increase market share.

Rigibore understand the importance of creating and sustaining competitive advantage. Our innovative ActiveEdge boring system has met and exceeded expectations in this respect across all industries on a global scale.

The ability to produce increased quantities of high tolerance manufactured parts without increasing human capital on the shopfloor is clearly an appealing proposition for organisations.

The ActiveEdge boring system assists production machines to run for 2 or 3 continuous shifts without the requirement for operator intervention, significantly increasing profitability. This process is sometimes called lights-out manufacturing.


What is Lights-Out Manufacturing?

CNC tools do not require a continuous operator’s intervention in order to run successfully, most models can operate completely independently whilst still maintaining the same level of efficiency and accuracy in production.

However, skilled operator intervention is still required when boring tools need to be adjusted to compensate for wear.

Lights-out manufacturing in boring operations is a method whereby bore sizes are maintained fully automatically, allowing an accurate and repeatable operation to run without operator intervention on site. This allows the manufacturing process to continue when staff are gone for the day or the weekend, workpieces are machined in a continuous run.

The advanced capabilities of Rigibore’s ActiveEdge boring tools allow organisations to get a big step closer towards successfully implementing lights-out manufacturing.


Rigibore’s Closed-Loop Manufacturing

Rigibore’s ActiveEdge is an automatically adjustable boring tool, providing an unrivaled combination of ease of use and accuracy, enabling micron-adjustment of multiple cutting edges via remote radio link. When linked with in-process gauging, it allows for high precision machining without the need for an operators intervention.


ActiveEdge Tooling- Provides efficiency and productivity through automation
ActiveEdge Tooling- Provides efficiency and productivity through automation


But how does this cycle work? The succinct and repeatable process is outlined below. (See Figure 1. below for visual representation)

  • A probing or gauging device is used to measure the diameter of the bored hole.
  • The probe then sends bore data directly to the CNC machine. The data is analysed using a Rigibore Statistical Process Control macro to determine if an adjustment is required.
  • The macro compares the size measurement against customisable upper and lower control limits, if bore sizes stray outside of this tolerance band, an automatic compensation request is sent directly to the ActiveEdge tool.
  • The ActiveEdge tool will subsequently adjust, ensuring that the next bore is machined at nominal size. Intelligent hardware in the ActiveEdge yoke allows the cutting edges to be adjusted automatically, with no operator intervention necessary.

Once the measurement data has been reviewed, Rigibore’s innovative technology allow adjustments to be made to the tool anywhere in the machine, thereby minimising spindle downtime.


Figure 1. Outlines the continuous process the closed-loop process undertakes
Figure 1. Outlines the continuous process the closed-loop process undertakes


Benefits of Lights-Out Manufacturing

Increased Productivity: ActiveEdge tooling can revolutionise boring operations, perhaps most importantly its ability to run for longer periods of time allows organisations to consistently meet critical productivity targets.

Reduced Costings: Another major advantage associated with this method is its ability to increase productivity rates, whilst having a minimal impact on labour costs. The accuracy and repeatability of the process also contributes to significantly reduced scrap and re-work.

Reduced Spindle Downtime: In a lights-out environment only a single operator is required to set up one or more runs, this can be done while another process is in operation, minimising spindle downtime and creating a streamlined and efficient process.

Skilled Labour: An increasingly major issue in modern day manufacturing is its reliance on skilled operators to set up and provide adjustments throughout the operation. Often skilled operators are tied to one or two machines, resetting after each run. Automation of bore sizing removes this reliance on skilled operators to be present in making adjustments.

To find out more about how ActiveEdge tooling can deliver benefits to your organisation please visit the Rigibore Website.





One thought on “Lights-Out Manufacturing With ActiveEdge

  1. Pingback: ActiveEdge Solutions – Rigibore

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