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Company Profile of Fatronik

The following information is courtesy of Mr. Agustín J. Sáenz (Fatronik).

The Company

Fatronik is a private industry, created in 1986 and based in Spain, providing engineering services to a group of machine-tool manufacturers that in 1998 achieved sales for 200 million euros. During the last ten years, Fatronik has been improving existing products and devising new solutions for its shareholders, all of which SMEs, as well as creating new designs with innovative final results that comply with market demands. With 50 employees and more than 35 engineers, Fatronik is involved in the following activities:

  • - design and analysis of new machine tool prototypes;
  • - development and evaluation of mechanical components;
  • - application of new materials;
  • - development of techniques for improving machine behaviour;
  • - evaluation of technical feasibility;
  • - conducting of technological market surveys.

Fatronik has been working since two years on the application of advanced structures and kinematics to machinery. The company works on the commercialization of machines with this kind of new solutions in milling machines and automated assemblies (for the aeronautic sector), agile modules (for the automotive sector), and high speed machines (for moulds and dies). Fatronik is the coordinator of two important PKM projects: MACH21 and AHEAD. The MACH21 project involves twelve partners (LIRMM, WZL, ISW, INA, COMAU and others) from five European countries.

Related Products and Prototypes

The only parallel kinematic machine of Fatronik that is currently commercially available is the 3-axis milling machine Ulyses. The system represents a new standard in machine tool construction. It is a parallel kinematic machine tool, with a brand new structure, allowing Fatronik to obtain an European patent (EP 1 027 965 A1). The machine has been entirely developed by Fatronik.

photo of Ulyses (exteriur view)
Fig. 1: The Ulyses 3-axis machining center (exteriour view). 

Ulyses is a 3-axis translational PKM. The mechanism is driven by three prismatic actuators in a typical tripod connection. The novelty is the use of planar scissors-like constraining chain. With the achieved dynamic performance and market price, Ulyses is claimed to excel similar PKMs such as Heckert's SKM 400 and RWTH Aachen's Dyna-M.

Below are some of Ulyses' characteristics:
 Axis travels in X, Y, Z: 630, 500, 500 mm
 Max. rates of travel in X, Y, Z: 2 m/s each
 Max. accelerations in X, Y, Z:  20 m/s² each
 Spindle: 24,000 rpm

photo of Ulyses (interior view)
Fig. 2: The Ulyses 3-axis machining center (interiour view). 

Fatronik is currently designing a new version of Ulyses, dubted Ulyses ZAB. The new 3-axis machine tool is similar to Neos Robotics' Tricept. However, the same constraint as in the Tricept is provided in a reversed order, i.e., translation (the linear guide) followed by two rotations (the Hooke joint). This eliminates the large swaying motion of the heavy constraining strut and improves dynamic performance at the cost of a narrower workspace.

CAD model of Ulyses ZAB
Fig. 3: The Ulyses ZAB 3-axis machine tool. 

Fatronik works also on an original 3-axis machine tool, named Hermes. The PKM's mobile platform has one pure translation with fixed direction and two rotations. The aimed application is the automation for the assembly (machining and riveting) of aircraft structures. However, the example of the similar Z3 Head by DS Technology, which is a 3-PRS parallel mechanism, may suggest the alternative use of Hermes as a spindle head.

CAD model of Hermes
Fig. 4: The Hermes 3-axis machine tool. 

Copyright © 2000–2001 by Ilian Bonev Last Update: October 7, 2001