Advantages of Robotic Milling
Robotic milling involves programming industrial robots to automatically execute milling applications as opposed to using traditional milling machinery or CNC machines. Material removal robots, such as the FANUC M-20ia, are integrated with a multi-tooth cutter as the end-effector. When the industrial robot arm applies the cutter to workpieces, material is chipped away to shape parts. As more manufacturers move towards automation, robotic milling is becoming increasingly common. Below is a look at some of the main advantages of robotic milling.
- • Higher Throughput - Automating milling applications with industrial robots means less human intervention is needed. Using robot manipulators increases throughput as they can mill twenty-four hours a day without disruptions such as breaks, distractions, and shift changes. Robot labor is consistent unlike with manual labor. Humans can tire or lose concentration, causing inconsistent cycle times and lower throughput. The Yaskawa HP20D and other factory robots operate at fast and reliable speeds which allow for higher productivity that is also consistent.
- • Increased Safety - Milling can be quite hazardous to worker safety. Operating sharp tooling, repetitive movements, and exposure to fumes, chemicals, or debris all threaten the safety of workers. Automating milling with industrial robots removes workers from being exposed to such safety hazards. The ABB 2600 and other material removal robots are better equipped than humans to take on milling hazards. Fewer work related accidents will occur with milling robots preventing unexpected stoppages and expenses associated with such incidents.
- • Lower Costs - Automating milling processes will lower the overall cost of manufacturing parts. Milling robotic manipulators can process more parts in less time than traditional manufacturing practices, significantly lowering production costs. Reduced reliance on human labor lowers labor costs as their will be fewer salaries and benefits to pay. The accuracy and consistency of the FANUC M-710ic/70 reduces material costs as less waste and rework will occur. Articulated robots are also energy-efficient requiring less lighting and heating/cooling than factories filled with human workers, lowering utility costs.
- • Better Part Quality - Milling robots are programmed to follow application parameters ensuring accuracy and better part quality. Every part is cut to the standards set resulting in not only higher quality parts but quality that is consistent. Six axis robots are designed for high repeatability allowing them to replicate their work over and over. Parts turn out uniform to one another with every cycle run. Errors are significantly reduced with robotic milling.
- • Enhanced Range of Motion - Most industrial robotic arms used to automate milling consist of six axes allowing for greater mobility than traditional milling machines. Milling robots can follow complex application paths as their enhanced range of motion allows them to mill parts from any angle. There is no need to disrupt milling to reposition parts as robot arms have the flexibility needed to move around workpieces, saving considerable time.
- • Greater Versatility - Milling robots also provide greater versatility as they can handle a variety of materials, part sizes, and part shapes. They can also be used to automate other applications or secondary processes. The Yaskawa Motoman MH50 can mill parts and also be used to sand those parts to smooth cut edges. Unlike traditional milling machinery that can only handle one process or part type, industrial robots can be used to automate multiple projects or be repurposed should manufacturing needs change.