This paper deals with a modern design approach via finite elements in the definition of the main structural elements (rotary table and working unit) of an innovative family of transfer machine tools. Using the concepts of green design and manufacture, as well as sustainable development thinking, the paper highlights the advantages derived from their application in this specific field (i.e., the clever use of lightweight materials to allow ruling out high-consumption hydraulic pump systems). The design is conceived in a modular way, so that the final solution can cover transfers from four to 15 working stations. Two versions of the machines are examined. The first one has a rotary table with nine divisions, which can be considered as a prototype: this machine has been studied in order to set up the numerical predictive model, then validated by experimental tests. The second one, equipped with a rotary table with 15 divisions, is the biggest of the range: this machine has been entirely designed with the aid of the previously developed numerical model. The loading input forces for the analyses have been evaluated experimentally via drilling operations carried out on a three-axis CNC unit. The definition of the design force made it possible to accurately assess both the rotary table and the working units installed in the machine.
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