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Chernco Engineering
Chernco Engineering
Chernco Engineering

Nestled in the heart of New South Wales, the picturesque town of Cowra has not only been known for its natural beauty and historical significance but is now emerging as a hub for engineering and manufacturing, all thanks to the remarkable journey of Chernco Engineering. Chernco Engineering has played a pivotal role in transforming Cowra’s industrial landscape, ushering in new opportunities and growth for the region.

Founded in 1975 by John Rankin, Chernco Engineering set out with a vision to provide cutting-edge engineering solutions across various industries. Their unwavering commitment to excellence and dedication to serving the local community laid the foundation for the company’s rapid growth and success.

As a vertically integrated engineering company, Chernco Engineering offers a comprehensive range of services, including Metal Fabrication, CNC Machining, Prototyping, Design, Welding, and Assembly. Their state-of-the-art metal fabrication facility, equipped with the latest technology and skilled technicians, handles projects of all sizes, ensuring precision and quality in every job. The company leverages computer numerical control (CNC) machining to produce high-precision components for industries such as the electrical, construction and agriculture.

In 2022, Chernco Engineering came to Automated Solutions Australia (ASA) facing a common dilemma in the manufacturing industry, the limitations of labour tending to their CNC machinery. Chernco’s machine tools had a maximum operational capacity of ten hours per day, but to expedite their return on investment, Chernco aimed to automate them and extend their operation to a continuous 24-hour cycle, thereby boosting productivity. Recognising the need for automation, they turned to ASA for a solution.

Enter Mr Tickle, a R2000iB/210F. Working together with Chernco Engineering, ASA designed a cell around a refurbished ex GM Holden FANUC robot, affectionately called ‘Mr Tickle’ due to its extra long fingers on the gripper end. The FANUC robot tends to two new DMG Mori NLX2500/700s and a Mori Seiki SL25 lathe. The robot was set to revolutionise Chernco’s operations by tending to their machine tools via a X axis rail system.

The journey towards automation was not without its challenges. The team encountered many unexpected obstacles along the way, swarf build up, tool changes and mechanical problems with the gripper arm were just a few of the initial hurdles, however these challenges served as valuable learning experiences. During commissioning it was discovered that the distance between the chucks on the smaller DMG Mori NLX2500/700 was very tight for the robot wrist and gripper for billet loading of the longer parts. ASA and Chernco Engineering collaborated closely to find innovative solutions to these challenges. The first iteration of that mechanism used a pneumatic rotator cylinder which worked well initially but over the coming months, began to show signs of wear and compliance. Repairs and adjustments were done on site to prolong the life of the flipper while a new flipper was designed, incorporating the lessons learned.

The new gripper flipper mechanism was manufactured and installed in November 2023 and has worked faultlessly since, with the cell now having produced over 65,000 parts. ASA’s ingenuity led to the development of a new gripper flipper, solving the mechanical issues and improving the robot’s performance. This innovative approach showcased the power of team work and problem solving in the face of adversity. Despite the initial setbacks, Chernco Engineering and ASA were undeterred. Their shared vision of a fully automated cell was the driving force that kept them going. Their unwavering commitment to the project, along with a resilient attitude played a pivotal role in achieving their desired outcome. It was truly a triumph of perseverance.

Pat Green, Director of Automated Solutions Australia commented ‘Working with Chernco Engineering on this project was a truly collaborative effort, and overcoming the challenges along the way only strengthened our partnership. The successful automation of Chernco’s operations is a testament to the dedication and innovative spirit of both teams’.

Today, the automation of Chernco Engineering’s operations is a source of pride for Managing Director Mark Rankin who reflects ‘The cell is honestly a joy now, and it accomplishes precisely what we set out to achieve from the beginning.’ With Mr Tickle seamlessly tending to three of their machine tools, Chernco now has the ability to operate 24/7, significantly increasing their productivity.

The story of Chernco Engineering’s automation journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, innovation, and collaboration. Through their shared vision and dogged determination, Chernco Engineering and Automated Solutions Australia have not only transformed their operations but also set an inspiring example for others in the industry. As Chernco Engineering continues to thrive in Cowra, NSW, their story serves as a reminder that when faced with challenges, working together can lead to remarkable outcomes.

Following on from the Lathe tending cell Chernco and ASA have again worked together to install a Chernco designed 80 pallet CNC mill tending cell feeding both a horizontal and vertical machining centres with pallets weight of up to 600kg.

To delve deeper into Chernco Engineering’s transformative journey towards automation or to witness Mr. Tickle’s impressive work, visit their website:

Chernco Engineering: www.chernco.com.au

Automated Solutions Australia: www.automatedsolutions.com.au

Chernco Engineering
Chernco Engineering
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