Four best practices in robotic grinding and finishing

Robotic grinding and finishing success can be tricky, but following best practices such as controlling the force of grinding and finishing systems and knowing what robot to use can help companies avoid some potential pitfalls.

By Robotic Industries Association (RIA) July 11, 2018

The path to success in robotic grinding and finishing may not always seem straightforward. Achieving return on investment (ROI) for all robotic systems and maximizing productivity are among the top priorities of just about any manufacturing setting, but there are common pitfalls when it comes to robotic grinding and finishing.

Following proven best practices can help ensure the implementation and ongoing automation of grinding and finishing processes delivers the intended results.

Four tips for robotic grinding and finishing success

While there are many things that can be done to improve robotic grinding and finishing processes, there are four main ways that may have the greatest impact.

1. Control the force of grinding and finishing systems

Controlling the force of robotic grinding and finishing systems not only makes for a safer work environment, but it can also help improve product quality by ensuring the proper force is exerted at all times. Typically, force is controlled by fixed passive controls, variable passive controls, or feedback for active force control.

2. Use the right robot

All too often, the wrong size robot is used for robotic grinding and finishing applications. Assess the reach the robot will need and determine the right size. Likely a six-axis robot will be needed, but there are industrial and collaborative options available, depending on the specific application.

3. Use the right grinding equipment

There are a lot of considerations that go into choosing the right robotic equipment and this can sometimes lead to oversights on the basic grinding and finishing equipment. Be sure to have enough horsepower and find the correct balance between rigidity and flexibility in the contact wheel. Like many things, finding the right abrasive is an iterative process, so it’s important to take the time and ensure the right grinding and finishing equipment is used.

4. Don’t automate all at once

Automating all of a company’s processes at one time only increases the risks that one small mistake could have big consequences on productivity and ROI. Try automating a portion of the grinding or finishing process first, and building on small success to eventually achieve fully automated production.

Controlling the force of grinding and finishing systems, using the right robot, using the right grinding equipment, and automating one process at a time are some of the best practices for robotic grinding and finishing.

Finding success in robotic grinding and finishing may seem difficult, but there are tried and true methods for achieving the desired results.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online Blog. Robotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Maura Walsh, content specialist, CFE Media.

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