CNC Tool Handling Boring Bar Rolls-Royce Andron Handling

CNC Tool Handling

January 23, 2020

Simple, low cost CNC tool handling improves productivity and safety at Rolls-Royce Derby.


Andron were approached to develop a solution to aid loading a wide range of different tools into a CNC machining centre carousel, a process that had previously been carried out manually.

The Technical Challenge

Multiple sizes of boring bar are loaded to a CNC machine centre carousel. Boring bars are stored on a shelving system located some distance from the machining centres. Space on the shelves and when loading to the CNC machining centre is limited, so a very compact tool was required. The customer was looking for a simple solution that could make use of an existing overhead crane and need only minimal operator effort to align boring bars during fitting.

The Andron Solution to CNC Tool Handling

Using 3D CAD and with simple prototype testing, we developed a very light, simple handing aid. This uses lifting pins coupled with a manually switchable magnet to secure the component in position. The lifting pins engage with common features on the customer tooling. A careful study was carried out to optimise the balance of the tool when loaded, this identified that only two crane hook positions would be necessary, so a single lifting accessory could be used for the full range of boring bars.

The CNC tool handling lifting accessory was manufactured from stainless steel, with labelling clearly engraved directly onto the body giving a robust, maintenance free product.

A simple prototype was manufactured and demonstrated in advance of final design and manufacture. This approach allowed us to deliver a well-tested solution several weeks ahead of the quoted schedule.


…we have trialled the lifter internally and as expected, everyone is really pleased with the outcome. Simple, light and effective. Job done, great result.

Manufacturing Engineer, Rolls-Royce plc

The outcome was a simple and effective handling aid supplied to another satisfied customer.

Read more of Andron Handling’s Case Studies.