Grinding is a finishing process involving the removal of excess material from a workpiece producing a smooth finish. It is a subtype of material removal applications and it one of the last and most essential steps of a manufacturing process. Grinding tasks are often viewed as undesirable due their difficult and tedious nature which is why automating them with robotics is the perfect solution. Grinding robots like the FANUC M-710ic/50 can be integrated with end of arm tooling (EAOT) that is customized to complete any grinding application requirements.
Adding an ABB IRB 4600/40-2.55 to the production line improves quality and precision of grinding finishes. Robotic grinding jobs require the correct amount of force to be applied to the workpiece. If too much force is applied the product can be damaged and materials are wasted. If too little pressure is applied, then production time is wasted. Grinding robots solve this issue because they are equipped with force sensors that allow them to detect and apply the correct amount of pressure for each type of part being grinded. Force control sensors also help robots to be able to finish objects with a lot of variation by adjusting the path of the grinding tool. These sensors ensure the robot is always completing the grinding in the correct spot. Human workers may not be paying attention to their work and go off course especially on parts with variations. The unmatched accuracy of grinding robots results in a smooth, uniform, and high-quality finish that is replicated with each part manufactured.
The rigorous and dirty work of grinding applications has caused manufacturers to face issues of high turnover on their production lines. Workers often become burnt out by the operation of heavy equipment and parts along with the harsh conditions of these jobs. Grinding robots are helping manufacturers resolve their turnover issues and improve worker safety. These industrial robots are built to withstand high levels of dust, particles, and debris without failure. Human workers risk their safety when completing grinding jobs as inhaling toxic chemicals or coming into contact with other debris can cause short and long term health effects. Worker injury can cause production delays that can lead to increased costs and time. Unlike workers robots can work around the clock with no need for breaks or the risk of injury. Grinding robots further reduce cycle time by being capable of removing several cubic millimeters of material per minute, a rate that is much faster than that of a human worker.
Grinding robots offer manufacturers a greater amount of flexibility for their operation lines. These robots are capable of not only completing grinding applications, but others such as material handling. In fact, with the addition of tool changers a robot like the Yaskawa Motoman MH-50 can perform material handling and finishing applications such as grinding all within the same work cell. This saves companies on labor costs because the same robot can perform the work associated with multiple applications. Manufacturers can reduce their overhead as only one robot is needed for multiple jobs versus several workers.
With the increased pressure manufacturers face to create high quality products while reducing costs the automation of grinding applications with robotics will only continue to grow.