Industrial Robot Spindles
Industrial robot spindles are motorized rotating devices used to hold and operate the tooling needed for automated material removal applications. Robotic spindles are designed to be lightweight to prevent excess stress from occurring to industrial robot arm along with helping to keep the total tooling payload to a minimum. This allows for more nimble movements and the ability for spindles to access parts from a variety of angles. In addition, spindles feature air purge systems to protect against contamination along with specialized sealing. Ceramic bearings allow spindles to operate at fast speeds while also expanding their lifespan. Water cooling and quick tool changes for multi-application processes are other features of robotic spindles.
Robotic spindles make automating material removal applications possible with used industrial robots. Many of these applications were previously completed by human workers or with CNC machines. However, manual processes lack the precision, accuracy, and consistency needed in order to create high-quality products. Spindles also create large amounts of dust and debris as a result of materials being shaved, shaped, or cut, making material removal hazardous to workers. While the use of CNC machines improves product quality and helps limit human interaction, they lack the flexibility needed to perform different types of applications. Integrating a FANUC M710ic/50 with a spindle and tooling device provides controlled movements along with high-speed and consistent operation of the EOAT for accurate material removal. Automating with robots also protects workers from the hazards of these processes as robots do not have the risk of injury and can be protected against debris.
To further enhance accuracy, material removal spindles can be integrated with force sensors to provide touch feedback to the robot. These help the robot determine of much force to apply and how fast or slow to move its spindle for precise, clean, and uniform parts.
As mentioned above, spindles are integrated with industrial robots for material removal applications including drilling, grinding, milling, and routing. There are numerous types of robotic spindles on the market and the type you will need with depend upon your application and material type. Some spindles are designed to handle softer materials such as polymers and foam, while others are designed for tough or hard materials such as metals. Often times used FANUC robots for sale include a spindle from a previous application.
For automated drilling applications, a material removal robot will be fitted with a robotic spindle containing a drill bit for the EOAT. The articulated robot is programmed to drill precise holes through workpieces along a programmed path using the drill spindle. The Motoman MH50 is ideal for drilling through tough materials.
Robotic grinding is a common material removal process that is used to help smooth imperfections, shape, and finish products. Six axis robots used for grinding tasks are integrated with a robotic spindle with a grinding wheel attached to it. The addition of force sensors is especially beneficial as they help to prevent errors and ensure smooth, uniform, finishes with each workpiece.
Robotic milling applications are made possible through the integration of an industrial robot with a spindle and rotary cutter. The ABB 4600 is often selected for milling processes. Routing robots utilize high-speed spindles that are attached to a router bit, allowing cuts to be made into workpieces.