In this video, Trevor from Kremin Inc. shows you an in-depth look at their HAAS Pallet Pool they purchased for their HAAS UMC 500. The 8-Station Pallet Pool was the right addition for the project, but not without it’s drawbacks.
“With the recent purchase of the UMC 500 sitting behind me, we made a decision to buy the Pallet Pool made by HAAS, which is fully integrated into the UMC. Now when the technician that comes in to does the installation says this is the first time I’ve seen one of these, I get really excite. I get like a little kid, get really excited. But that exciting feeling quickly sunk into my lower guts and left me all crampy. Here’s the rest of that story.
So initially the program we had scoped out to run on the UMC 500 had to run continuously about 20 hours a day. The ideal application to feed this machine for that amount of time every day ideally was some type of robotic load and go, offset cart that would feed the machine with material specific to that project. We wanted to look at something that would be more universal for our facility, long after this project was done and complete on this machine. That’s where we discovered the Pallet Pool and decided this was a better option for us.
This Pallet Pool does some of the same features. They’ll load and unload the systems in and out of the machine. We have eight stations, all of which we can modify and alter in any way.
So in this situation, we get set up fixturing to run the part and the project that we have scoped out for the machine. When that’s done, we can clear these and reset our plates and set up anything else. [We have] eight different stations, giving us the ability to run the same part across all the pallet stations, or we can set up multiple different style parts on different pallets and run them as we need/see fit in the schedule.
The main advantage is you have an offline changing station which we’ll show you from the outside of the machine. We have an unlimited amount of blank plates that we can swap in and out as we need. The machine comes with eight station plates that you can modify.
The machine is virtually maintenance-free. There really isn’t many moving parts to this, as you can see it’s just kind of an open cell. With the shuttle, they’ll come in and carry and move into the machine, come back out, and read back to your offset station.
One of the other selling points of [the HAAS Pallet Pool] that attaches right to the UMC, is its integration right into the controller. We operate that Pallet Pool from scheduling pallets, to loading programs, everything right through the controller of the machine. There’s no extra PLC, there’s no HMI, there’s no other ways that we have to communicate with that Pallet Pool other than right here at the machine. That’s a great feature for us. It makes it easier for us, especially when our operators are already familiar with this controller. This integration makes it adaptable in our environment that much easier now.
We’ve had a few drawbacks with this system since we got a blown plate. With the pallet pool system, we are limited with the door width. I talked about this in my UMC 500 review that you can check out on our YouTube channel. We have to be careful on what size work holding fixtures we put on the plates to bring in and out of this door. The door is smaller than the width of our work envelope.
The biggest issue that we have that still isn’t fixed–HAAS is working on it because I don’t like the resolution that they have for us so far, is chips and particulate getting underneath the plate, not allowing the clamp cylinder to actuate fully. Now when you’re trying to run continuously–sometimes 24 hours a day–and no one’s here to attend it and that alarm’s out–what happens? Machine sits until someone can get over here and literally blow out chips from underneath that system. So far, HAAS’ only recommendation for us has been to add a path at the end of our program every time to bring our table up and sideways, and then run coolant in between the pallet and this plate to wash down any chips in there before we send our system in to come and pick the pallet out of the machine. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when it already takes about two minutes to change the palette, adding more time to the palette change and taking away from time where this spindle can be cutting is costly. So that is a big drawback for us.
One last issue that we’ve been running into on this system has to deal with the clamp mechanism in the machine for the pallet pool. This uses a hydraulic cylinder that clamps and grabs the bottom of the plate and holds it in place. Somewhere in this unit, we’re having a hydraulic leak. Don’t know where it’s coming from. Don’t know what’s happening, but it’s contaminating our system. Our nice, clean coolant is collecting hydraulic oil and then causing everything else to stick to it which is not a good thing.
HAAS is still working on trying to take care of this issue….10 months later.
All things considered, the HAAS Pallet Pool was the right option for [our UMC 500.] The flexibility it gives us with the pallet stations is great. The ease with which machinists can control and use this integrated with the machine is great, and overall it has low maintenance. Virtually no maintenance at all! However, the amount of time it takes for it to do a pallet change is something that you should take into consideration. The issue with the hydraulic leak is something that needs to be looked into. The window clearance inside there can be frustrating for the machinists. And then lastly, that chip control issue underneath the pallets. That is a big one that seems to slow things down.
Overall we give [the HAAS Pallet Pool] a rating of 2.5/5 stars. The intent behind the Pallet Pool is fantastic. However, the setbacks that we are experiencing ultimately prevent this machine behind me from running continuously. It’s kind of a big deal.
So if you’re in the market for adding a Pallet Pool to any one of your HAAS machines, I would seriously consider reaching out to HAAS to see if they’ve addressed any of these issues that we are experiencing today.”