Cutting Robots

Despite robots having been involved for decades within the industrial world, cutting is fairly new application in robotics. Robotic cutting is the process of dividing a part into smaller sections or removing material from a work piece. It also may not be limited to the robot performing the cutting. Some cutting applications involve the robot holding or manipulating the material while a fixed tool creates the cut. Cutting can be used to cut steel, aluminium, titanium, as well as other material types. Cutting robots are fitted with end-of-arm tooling or EOAT. The EOAT needed varies depending on the material and cut to be performed. Types of robot cutting applications include:

  • Laser Cutting

    Laser cutting is one of the more common material removal applications for industrial robots. The advantage of this method is that cutting can be done without making contact with workpieces. The ABB 2400 can cut through parts from up to a foot away with this method by focusing a laser beam onto the part surface. The non-contact nature of laser cutting prevents part distortion and allows for access to hard to reach parts. Robotic laser cutting is best for paper, wood, and metal workpieces. Click here for more information on robotic laser cutting
  • Plasma Cutting

    Plasma cutting is another popular cutting application for robotic automation. Many plasma welding robots are capable of automating plasma cutting as well. During plasma cutting the stream of plasma is sped up to cut through metals instead of welding them. Both thin and thick metals can be cut with plasma cutting robots as long as they are electrically conducive. The FANUC Arcmate 100ic is ideal for automating plasma cutting applications. Click here for more information on automated plasma cutting
  • Waterjet Cutting

    Waterjet cutting involves using a high-pressured jet of water to cut through workpieces. This cutting process can be automated with six-axis industrial robots. Waterjet cutting robots can be used to cut a variety of materials from composites to metals to textiles to even stone. Depending on the material toughness an abrasive may need to be added for the water jet to be able to cut through it. The advantages of this method are no heat affected zone and its clean nature as no smoke or dust is produced. Click here for more information on robotic waterjet cutting
  • Oxyfuel Cutting

    Oxyfuel cutting involves using fuel gases to melt and separate workpieces. Initially metals are melted creating slag. Once the slag has formed a powerful jet of oxygen is applied to push through the slag and cut through the metal. Oxyfuel is mainly used for metals with a thickness of 50 mm or greater that also contain some amount of iron. Oxyfuel cutting can be automated by the Yaskawa MH50-20. Click here for more information on automated oxyfuel cutting
  • Ultrasonic Cutting

    Ultrasonic cutting involves cutting objects with the energy produced from ultrasonic vibrations. With this versatile method industrial robots can cut through both soft and hard materials. Cuts result in smooth, clean edges. Click here for more information on robotic ultrasonic cutting
The advances of robot vision and force sensors have opened up robotics to more complex applications such as cutting. A vision system such as one integrated on the FANUC Arcmate 120ic give robots the ability to error proof in real-time ensuring job accuracy and precision. Force control systems help guide robots to apply consistent surface pressure when creating a cut. This ensures accurate cuts are made every time. The combination of these two systems gives industrial robots a major advantage over human workers with precision and efficiency that is unmatched.

Even though robot cutting is a relatively new application manufacturers in industries such as automotive, medical device, food, and construction are quickly adding them to their operations because they see the benefits of these robots. Many manufacturers have faced skill shortages when it comes to cutting jobs and high turnover. Often cutting jobs are dangerous and involve materials that release toxic fumes or dust when cut. Robots such as Yaskawa Motoman MA1900 have helped companies overcome this worker shortage and improved employee safety. Adding a cutting application robot to production lowers the risk of worker injury such as the loss of a limb or potential long-term health effects due to ingesting toxic fumes. Cutting robots are designed to handle these hazards while workers can then be moved to less dangerous jobs.

Cutting robots give manufactures a competitive edge because they can perform the same job over and over with increased speed and accuracy unlike a human worker. The repeatability of a robot like the ABB 4400/L10 cannot be matched by a human. Workers cannot put in the same number of hours as a robot without the risk of exhaustion or errors. Robot accuracy simply increases efficiency. There is no stopping because the wrong cut was made or because the work is inconsistent. Adding a FANUC M-710ic/20L to operations for cutting applications means increased productivity with decreased cycle time.

Perhaps the most important benefit of cutting robots is the reduction of manufacturing costs for companies. As mentioned above robots perform cutting applications with extreme accuracy which eliminates any errors. No errors mean that materials are not wasted due to a mistake or having to restart on new material because the wrong cut was made. The use of less production materials greatly reduces manufacturer costs. The reduction of errors also means products can reach consumers at faster rates. Higher productivity while reducing costs only means more profit for businesses.

Contact us by email or phone (440) 724-6568 today to discuss buying or selling a cutting robot.

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